U.S. munitions shipment to Israeli stockpile delayed

WASHINGTON (JTA) — A shipment of U.S. munitions to a stockpile in Israel has been delayed after the Greek government objected to its country being used as a transfer point.

The United States Navy had considered using the Greek port of Astakos as a transfer point for the ammunition and requested proposals to carry the cargo from there to the Israeli port of Ashdod, but that plan has been cancelled. Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell told reporters Tuesday that "there was an objection raised at some level" by the Greek government, although he could not specify what the nature of the objection was.

The ammunition delivery, which was approved by the Defense Department in October, is destined for a U.S. stockpile kept in Israel under a 1990 agreement between the two countries, said Lt. Col. Patrick Ryder, a Pentagon spokesman. The stockpile is controlled by the U.S., but like other U.S. allies which host similar stockpiles, Israel can, with U.S. permission, access it.

Ryder said arrangements are currently being made to determine an "appropriate course of action to deliver" the shipment.

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