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MISSILE NEWS
Israel 'determined' to halt Syria missile deal: minister
by Staff Writers
Jerusalem (AFP) May 12, 2013


Russia 'completing supplies' of missiles to Syria: Lavrov
Warsaw, Poland (AFP) May 10, 2013 - Russia is completing its delivery of surface-to-air missiles to Syria, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Friday, a move the United States has called destabilising.

"Russia is not planning to sell -- Russia has sold and signed contracts a long time ago, and is completing supplies of the equipment -- which is anti-aircraft systems, according to the already signed contracts," Lavrov told reporters in Warsaw.

He added that "this is not forbidden by any international laws, this is defensive weaponry."

"It is designed for Syria as an importer to have in this situation an opportunity to defend itself from air strikes which, as we know, is not a completely fantastical scenario," he said.

Syria has vowed to "respond immediately" to any new Israeli attack against its territory after two reported Israeli strikes on military targets last week.

Lavrov's comments came as Russian President Vladimir Putin and British Prime Minister David Cameron on Friday discussed possible options and joint measures for ending the conflict in Syria during talks in southern Russian resort of Sochi.

A day earlier, US Secretary of State John Kerry warned against any Russian missiles sales to Syria saying it would be "destabilising" to the region as he seeks to build diplomatic efforts to end the bloody conflict.

"International arms deliveries to Syria must end and we must do everything to create a chance for a political solution," German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle insisted Friday in Warsaw at a joint press conference with Lavrov and Polish counterpart Radoslaw Sikorski.

Israeli Premier Benjamin Netanyahu is "fully determined" to try to halt sales by Russia of advanced missiles to Syria when he visits Moscow for talks with President Vladimir Putin, a minister said Sunday.

A reported Russian plan to sell Damascus S-300 missile batteries "worries us at the highest level and the prime minister is fully determined that this contract should not be fulfilled," Energy and Water Minister Silvan Shalom, a member of the security cabinet, told public radio.

"Such a sale to Syria would alter the balance of forces in the region and these weapons could fall into the hands of Hezbollah," the Lebanese militia ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Israel's arch-foe Iran, Shalom said.

Should Syria obtain the ultra-modern Russian weapons, which can destroy aircraft or guided missiles, "action by countries seeking change in Syria would become much more difficult," he added.

Russian and Israeli officials have said the two leaders are to meet shortly, with Russia's Interfax news agency quoting Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov as saying the visit was being planned for next week.

"Netanyahu and Putin will discuss the Russian arms sales to Syria, in particular the sale of advanced S-300 anti-aircraft missile systems," Israel's Haaretz newspaper reported Friday, adding that the Israeli premier would also seek to raise the Iranian nuclear issue.

Israel twice last week carried out air strikes near Damascus, attacks a senior Israeli source said were aimed at preventing the transfer of sophisticated weapons to Hezbollah.

US Secretary of State John Kerry has warned that the sale of S300s to Damascus would be "potentially destabilising" for the region.

Russia however refuses to rule it out however, saying it has to honour existing contracts.

On a visit to Warsaw on Friday, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Moscow was continuing to fulfil agreements by delivering military hardware to Assad's regime in defiance of calls for a freeze.

"Russia has sold and signed contracts a long time ago, and is completing supplies of the equipment, which is anti-aircraft systems, according to the already signed contracts," he told reporters.

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