Syria: Time ripe for Russia military ties
As US Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, signed a deal with Poland to install Washington's missile defense system, "Syrian President Bashar al-Assad says the conflict in the Caucasus underlines the need for Russia and Syria to expand military ties".
Wed, 20 Aug 2008 13:18:48 GMT
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad says the conflict in the Caucasus underlines the need for Russia and Syria to expand military ties.
In an interview with Kommersant, President al-Assad said Damascus is prepared to 'speed up' defense cooperation with Moscow.
"I think that everyone in Russia and in the world is now aware of Israel's role and its military consultants in the Georgian crisis," said President al-Assad, who will meet his Russian counterpart, Dmitry Medvedev, on Thursday.
Such deals would irk Washington and Tel Aviv, which have long asked Moscow not to sell weapons to countries that share borders with the occupied territories.
Reports, however, indicate that Russia is eager to revive its defense ties with Syria following the South Ossetian conflict, in which Georgia used Israeli-supplied equipment.
An Israeli website reported that Moscow plans to deploy advanced missile systems - including the S-300 air-missile defense system as well as the nuclear-capable Iskander missiles - in Syria in the near future.
A Russian official was quoted by Interfax news agency as saying that a number of deals involving anti-aircraft and anti-tank missile systems are being prepared by Russia and Syria.
"Damascus is Moscow's long-standing partner in military cooperation and we are expecting to reach an agreement in principle on new weapons deals," said the source.
The official added that the Syrians are interested in acquiring Russia's Pantsyr-S1 Air Defense Missile systems, BUK-M1 surface-to-air medium-range missile system, military aircraft, and other hardware.
Russia has condemned both Israel and the US for their role in arming the Georgian military with sophisticated weapons.
Israel claims it has not directly equipped or trained the Georgian military, and private Israeli firms - with the defense ministry's approval- are responsible for such dealings.
MD/HGH/MMN Original source
US and Poland sign missile deal Washington and Warsaw have signed a deal to deploy US interceptor missiles in Poland, despite Russian opposition to the move.Condoleezza Rice, the US secretary of state, and Radoslaw, her Polish counterpart, signed the accord at a ceremony in the capital, on Wednesday.The signing comes six days after the two countries agreed to a deal that will allow 10 of the missiles to be placed just 180km from Russia's westernmost frontier."The negotiations were very tough but friendly," Donald Tusk, Poland's prime minister, said."We have achieved our main goals, which means that our country and the United States will be more secure."