Destabilizing. Barak
Photo: AP

Barak: Russia destabilizing Middle East

Defense minister calls on Moscow to cease controversial weapon sales, play positive role in regional peace process. In meeting with French foreign minister, Barak urges Kouchner to use Paris' influence to stop Hizbullah's armament

Defense Minister Ehud Barak called on Russia to "play a positive role in the Middle East peace process, instead of providing weapons system which could destabilize the area."


Sunday's controversial statement was made a mere 24 hours before Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was scheduled to leave for an official visit to Russia.


Barak began his workweek by meeting with French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner in Jerusalem. The two had a short private session, after which they were joined by Labor Knesset Members Colette Avital and Avishay Braverman.

Barak (L) and Kouchner (photo courtesy of the Defense Ministry)


Also attending the meeting were Amos Gilad, head of the Defense Ministry's Security-Diplomatic Bureau, Barak's senior aide, Brig.-Gen Michael Herzog, General Eitan Dangot, who serves as the military aide-de-camp to the defense minister and Israel's ambassador to France, Daniel Shek.


Barak and Kouchner reportedly discussed various political and security issues pertaining to the Middle East. The defense minister urged his French colleague to use France's influence in Lebanon to curb Hizbullah's attempts at rearmament, and to push for an independent Lebanese government, free of what he called "negative exterior influence."


The two then discussed the sale of various weapon systems to Iran and Syria, as well as the global financial crisis. Barak also briefed the French foreign minister on Israel's efforts to secure the release of kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad Shalit.


פרסום ראשון: 10.05.08, 14:38
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