Syrian rebels
Photo: AP

Russia defends weapons sales to Syria, says US arming rebels

Moscow's FM shrugs off US' allegations regarding arms shipments to Assad; says Washington in arming Damascus Opposition

Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov defended his country's sale of arms to Syria and accused the United States of supplying rebels with weapons to fight against the government.


"We are not violating any international law in performing these contracts… They (the United States) are providing arms and weapons to the Syrian opposition that can be used in fighting against the Damascus government," Lavrov said Wednesday.


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Russia's arms export agency Rosoboronexport also claimed that its deliveries to Syria were in line with UN regulations: "We do not supply weapons and military technology in contradiction with UN Security Council requirements and other international agreements," a company spokesman told Moscow's state-run RIA Novosti news agency.


Lavrov: Russia is not violating international law (Photo: Reuters) 


Russia's statement followed an accusation made Tuesday by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, suggesting Moscow was sending arms shipments to its Soviet-era ally.


"We are concerned about the latest information we have that there are attack helicopters on the way from Russia to Syria, which will escalate the conflict quite dramatically," Clinton told a think-tank discussion in Washington.


The State Department failed to specify the source of Clinton's information while the Pentagon said it could not immediately confirm the claim.


Washington maintains that it is not providing direct military support to the opposition Free Syrian Army, but has pledged "non-lethal" support. Some believe it may be helping facilitate arms deliveries from Qatar, Saudi Arabia and perhaps others.


Russia has so far refused to stop arms shipments to Syria and has offered diplomatic support to President Bashar Assad as he seeks to crush the year-long revolt.


Reuters and AFP contributed to this report



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פרסום ראשון: 06.13.12, 16:55
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