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Possible Russia-Syria arms deal irks Israel

Latest update : 2008-08-22

Reports that Russia is in favour of supplying new weapons to Syria has raised concern in Israel. Israeli President Shimon Peres along with Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni warned that such a deal could further destabilise the region.

Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni on Thursday expressed concern over reports that Russia was willing to sell weapons to Syria, a longtime foe of the Jewish state.
  
"Russia has its own interests in the region and nobody wants to destabilise the region. And I think according to this assessment it is of mutual interest of Russia, Israel and pragmatic leaders of states in the region not to send this kind of long-range missiles to Syria," Livni said at a news conference.
  
"We know what are the connections between Iran and Syria, we know what are the connections between Syria, Hezbollah, Hamas and other terrorist organisations," she said.
  
Livni was speaking after Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was quoted as saying that Russia was ready to sell Syria new weapons.
  
"We are ready to deliver weapons of a defensive character that do not violate the strategic balance of power in the region," Russian news agencies quoted him as saying.
  
Lavrov was briefing journalists after a meeting between Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Syrian counterpart Bashar al-Assad in Russia's Black Sea resort of Sochi.
  
Israeli President Shimon Peres also expressed concern, telling army radio that the weapons "would endanger peace in the world, not only in the Middle East."

Date created : 2008-08-21

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