Russia has no plans for new arms sales to Syria: Lavrov

Warsaw, May 10 (IANS/RIA Novosti) Russia has no plans to supply Syria with weapons beyond the current contracts that Moscow is honouring, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Friday.

US officials Thursday reiterated their call to Moscow to cut off arms sales to Syria, after media reports suggested that Russia was ready to sell advanced ground-to-air missile systems to the country.

“Russia does not plan to sell,” Lavrov told reporters.

The Russian foreign minister said Moscow has been only fulfilling an old contract with equipment to be used in Syria’s defensive capacity.

The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday that Israel had informed the US about the suspected sale of Russia’s S-300 missile batteries to the government of President Bashar al-Assad.

According to information the Israelis provided in recent days, Syria has been making payments on a 2010 agreement with Moscow to buy six launchers and 144 operational missiles for $900 million.

Commenting on the media reports, US Secretary of State John Kerry said “the missiles are potentially destabilizing with respect to the state of Israel”.

The sale of Russian weapons to Assad’s regime has been a source of bilateral tension between Moscow and Washington, with US officials accusing Russia of arming a regime the United States says is killing its own citizens in the civil war.

Russia, however, has insisted that the deliveries are legal under international law and that it is not supplying Syria, the largest importer of Russian arms in the Middle East, with offensive weapons which can be used to kill civilians.

–IANS/RIA Novosti


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