Photo: Reuters
PM's attempt to halt Syrian arms deal fails
Photo: Reuters

Russia says still committed to Syria arms deal

Netanyahu fails to change Putin's decision regarding sale of S-300 missiles to Syria; Russian foreign minister says Moscow will make good on commitments. CIA chief visits Israel, holds security talks with defense minister

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov announced Thursday that Russia would remain committed to previously signed arms deal "regarding agreements pertaining to aerial defense weapons."


Despite the fact that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu flew for a lightning visit to Russia with the clear intent of preventing the sale of S-300 missiles to Assad's regime, the Russians reiterated two days later that they refused to budge from their commitments.


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According to Lavrov, Russia will not sign any new deal with the Syrian government, but is nonethless obligated to previous commitments.

(צילום: EPA)

Putin, Netanyahu meet (Photo: EPA)  


"We have already gone through with some of our previous commitments and we intend to complete them. We do not want to break any international law, but also do not want to hurt our good name as arms suppliers."


At the end of Netanyahu's meeting with Putin Tuesday, the two held a joint press conference in which the Russian leader said that precautions must be taken so as not to further complicate the situation in Syria. However, he failed to give more details.  

מערכת S-300 בפעולה (צילום: AFP)

S-300 in action (Photo: AFP)


On Thursday, Lavrov also commented on current attempts to organize a Syrian peace summit, saying that Iran must take part in the proposed international conference intended to end Syria's civil war, but noted that Western states wanted to limit the participants and possibly predetermine the outcome of the talks.


"Among some of our Western colleagues, there is a desire to narrow the circle of external participants and begin the process from a very small group of countries in a framework which, in essence, would predetermine the negotiating teams, agenda, and maybe even the outcome of talks," Lavrov said in an interview posted on the Foreign Ministry website on Thursday.


"One must not exclude a country like Iran from this process because of geopolitical preferences. It is a very important player. But there is no agreement on this yet," Lavrov said in the interview given to a Lebanese television station.


While Lavrov announced that Russia would in fact supply Assad with S-300 missiles, and while US President Barak Obama met with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to discuss Syria, the security assessments and deliberations regarding the Syrian conflict and Israel's influence in its regard were still underway within the defense establishment.


CIA Director John Brennan, currently in Israel, met Thursday with Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon in the Kirya to discuss the security developments in the Middle East, specifically in Syria.


Ya'alon expressed to Brennan the Israeli concerns regarding the transfer of advanced arms from Syria to radical terror forces like Hezbollah.


Reuters contributed to this report



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פרסום ראשון: 05.16.13, 23:13
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