Russia defends arms supplies to SyriaFebruary 5th, 2012 - 10:09 am ICT by IANS
Moscow, Feb 5 (IANS/RIA Novosti) Russia’s arms supplies to Syria will not affect the balance of power in the Middle East, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.
“We’ve explained the facts — no matter what we supply to other countries in the region, this can in no way affect the balance of power in the region,” Lavrov said Saturday in Munich.
He said Russia’s arms sales to Syria had not changed the balance of power before the Arab Spring and did not affect the current situation.
“We don’t supply firearms and what we supply is not used in the conflict,” Lavrov said.
Syria, the largest importer of Russian weapons in the Middle East, signed contracts for the supply of 24 MiG-29M/M2 fighter jets and eight Buk-M2E air-defence systems.
Lavrov said: “We do not accept demands that we should stop something, which is not prohibited by the international law.”
A contract for the supply of Bastion anti-ship missile systems armed with SS-N-26 Yakhont supersonic cruise missiles is currently under implementation.
Russian Deputy Defence Minister Anatoly Antonov said earlier that Moscow will continue selling weapons to Damascus observing both international law and bilateral obligations, while some western countries are pushing for an embargo on Russian arms supplies to Syria.
At least 5,400 people have been killed in the Syrian government’s 11-month crackdown on protesters, according to the UN.
Syrian authorities blame the violence on armed gangs affiliated with Al Qaeda and say more than 2,000 soldiers and police have been killed.
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