PANAMA CITY — A Panamanian official says the two Cuban MiG-21 jet fighters found aboard a seized North Korean cargo ship were in perfect conditions to operate and that the 15 plane engines are new and could be used as replacements.
The official says the assertion by Cuba that the military equipment was obsolete is incorrect.
The official spoke Friday on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to be quoted by name.
He said the shipping of the weapons was part of an agreement between Cuba and North Korean and that Havana was going to receive $200 million for them.
After the ship was seized as it tried to cross the Panama Canal, Cuba said the cargo included "obsolete defensive weapons" they were sending to North Korea "to be repaired and returned."