The United States Will Remove Unexploded Chemical Weapons Left In An Island In Panama
Friday, September 20 2013 @ 03:03 PM EDT
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"Cleaning the field includes disarming the bombs and chemical munitions, and it will start before this year is over, finalizing a dispute that emerged after WWII was over,” said Núñez Fabrega through a statement.
The operation “will be conducted by experts from the Pentagon, who will be traveling to Panama soon to understand the situation of the operation they will carry out,” said the Panamanian Minister.
The chemical “bombs and munitions” are located in the San José Island, in the Pacific shore, and according to information published by a local newspaper they were left there between the decades of 1930 and 1970 by the Army of the United States.
They have not officially disclosed what type of chemical weapons are located in this island, but according to several newspapers, these are phosgene and mustard gas bombs used in a protection program of the Panama Canal and in experiments to understand the behavior of these chemicals in tropical areas.
"The armies of the United States, United Kingdom and Canada dropped millions of chemical weapons in the San José Island anticipating its use in the invasion of Japan,” said the Foreign Minister.
The removal of these chemical weapons from San José Island was discussed many times during the last century through negotiations with no results and was finally stuck in 2003.
The general director of Counter-Terrorism Analysis, Tomás Cabal, and the Panamanian Ambassador in the Netherlands, José Terán, had a meeting at La Haya in April with representatives of the Department of State and the Pentagon to solve the issues that had paralyzed the negotiations, according to official information.
The parties reached “an agreement, after negotiations of the highest level, and it finally put an end to an extended dispute that lasted over 70 years,” said the Foreign Ministry Núñez Fabrega.
He said the removal of these bombs “will take Panama off the list issued by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) of countries who have this type of unexploded weapons.”
"The agreement (with the United States) ratified by the Panamanian Foreign Ministry was negotiated in the middle of the whole situation in Syria after they used chemical weapons,” said the Minister.
The newspaper Panama America published that the United States refused to remove the chemical bombs from the Panamanian island, which belongs to the archipelago Las Perlas and near Contadora.
The United States even offered President Mireya Moscoso (1999-2004) assessment and financing so Panama could conduct this task in exchange of exempting the United States from paying future compensation, according to the reports.
The same source said the environmental organization from the U.S. Fellowship of Reconciliation "says the United States left thousands of chemical bombs in Panama.” (Telemetro)