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Russia in 300-million-dollar missile deal with Syria: report

Russia 'irresponsible' for selling arms to Syria: Israel
Jerusalem (AFP) Sept 19, 2010 - Israel on Sunday denounced as irresponsible the reported sale by Russia of P-800 Yakhont cruise missiles to Syria, saying it could threaten the strategic balance in the region. News of the sale emerged on Friday when Russian Defence Minister Anatoly Serdyukov told reporters in Washington that Moscow would fulfil a 2007 contract to supply Yakhont cruise missiles to Damascus, Russia's ITAR-TASS news agency reported. The sale, worth at least 300 million dollars, will see Syria receiving around 72 cruise missiles, the Interfax news agency said on Sunday, citing defence industry sources.

"This decision translates into a very poor demonstration of responsibility by a country which sees itself as influential and which claims to act in favour of regional stability," a senior Israeli government official told AFP, speaking on condition of anonymity. "These weapons could affect the strategic balance in a fragile region which has only just begun peace negotiations," he said, referring to direct talks between Israel and the Palestinians which began on September 2. Syria and Israel remain technically in a state of war, and Russia's arms sales and possible nuclear cooperation with Damascus, which has close ties to Iran, is unnerving for both Washington and the Jewish state.

Israel is also concerned that such weapons could be transferred to Lebanon's Hezbollah militia. But Russia's defence minister said such fears were unjustified. "The US and Israel ask us not to supply Syria with Yakhont," he was quoted as saying on Friday. "But we do not see the concerns expressed by them, that these arms will fall into the hands of terrorists." Russian weapons sales to Damascus provoked Israeli ire in May after Moscow said it was supplying Syria with MiG-29 fighter jets, Pantsir short-range air defence systems and armoured vehicles.
by Staff Writers
Moscow (AFP) Sept 19, 2010
Russia plans to supply Syria with around 72 P-800 Yakhont cruise missiles in a deal worth at least 300 million dollars, a source in Russia's arms industry told the Interfax news agency Sunday.

"Damascus is counting on receiving no less than two Bastion coastal defence systems. Since each system can include up to 36 Yakhont missiles, it is an order of a significant size," the source told Interfax.

Russia will receive at least 300 million dollars for the defence systems, Interfax cited the source as saying.

Earlier this week, Russian Defence Minister Anatoly Serdyukov confirmed to journalists that Russia would fulfil a 2007 contract to supply Yakhont cruise missiles to Syria, despite opposition from the United States and Israel.

Speaking in Washington on Thursday while on a visit to the Pentagon, Serdyukov said, "We will supply Yakhont to Syria, we will fulfil the contract."

Russia's arms sales and possible nuclear cooperation with Syria, which has close ties to Iran, is unnerving for the United States and Israel, which fear that they could be transferred to the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah.

Serdyukov said that Russia did not see a basis for these concerns.

"The US and Israel ask us not to supply Syria with Yakhont. But we do not see the concerns expressed by them that these arms will fall into the hands of terrorists," he said.

earlier related report
Russia to supply Syria with cruise missiles: minister
Moscow (AFP) Sept 17, 2010 - Russian Defence Minister Anatoly Serdyukov confirmed in Washington that Russia would supply Syria with P-800 Yakhont cruise missiles, Russian news agencies reported Friday.

"We will supply Yakhont to Syria, we will fulfil the contract," Serdyukov was quoted as saying by ITAR-TASS news agency in comments to Russian journalists, adding that the contract was signed in 2007.

Serdyukov was speaking in Washington during a visit to the Pentagon aimed at expanding military ties as part of the countries' much-vaunted "reset" in relations.

Russia's arms sales and possible nuclear cooperation with Syria, which has close ties to Iran, is unnerving for the United States and Israel, which fears them being transferred to the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah.

Serdyukov described such fears as unjustified.

"The US and Israel ask us not to supply Syria with Yakhont. But we do not see the concerns expressed by them that these arms will fall into the hands of terrorists," he said.

The Russian defence minister also called for an end to a deadlock over a key Cold War arms treaty limiting conventional military forces of Europe. Russia abandoned it in 2007 over US plans to install a missile shield in Eastern Europe.

The Conventional Forces in Europe treaty (CFE), limits the deployment of troops and military hardware across Europe.

"Even our American partners understand that it cannot work any more in the form in which it is now," Serdyukov said, adding that the treaty "needs to be more up-to-date and match the realities of today."

NATO countries have said they will only ratify an adapted CFE treaty once Moscow lives up to a pledge made in 1999 to pull its troops out of former Soviet republics Georgia and Moldova.

"We stand by our position on the treaty and have firmly stated that we will not lift our moratorium until our conditions are accepted and we are offered options that suit us," Serdyukov said.

The issue is expected to be discussed when Russia attends talks during a NATO summit in Lisbon in November.




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France wants missile firms to link up
Marseille, France (UPI) Sep 15, 2010
France wants to consolidate the missile sections of three companies to boost their market chances, the country's defense minister has said. "I have asked the chief executive of the National Arms Procurement Office to conduct a broad study on the missile sector so we can preserve an area of sovereignty," French Defense Minister Herve Morin was quoted as saying by Defensenews.com at a two ... read more

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