Israel says Russia-Syria weapons deal is an unwelcome developmentSeptember 22nd, 2010 - 2:15 am ICT by BNO News
JERUSALEM, ISRAEL (BNO NEWS) – Israel on Tuesday said that the announced Russia-Syria weapons deal is an unwelcomed development but not one they are not prepared for, the Israel Defense Forces Chief of the General Staff, Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi, said.
Ashkenazi added that Israel has been following the arms deals between Russia and Syria for a while now. On Friday, Russia announced that it will provide missiles to Syria as agreed in a 2007 deal, despite protests by both the United States and Israel.
“The issue of selling highly accurate missiles to Syria was raised during the talks with U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates. Undoubtedly, the contract would be fulfilled by the Russian side,” Russian Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov said.
Israel fears that the missiles and weapons could be transferred to the hands of Hezbollah as in recent years there has been suspicions about a large part of the Syrian arsenal finds its way to the Hezbollah terrorist organization.
The United States and Israel have expressed their opposition of selling missiles to Syria as the Asian country is considered by the both sides as a potential threat. Israel said last August that the possible purchase of missiles by Syria represents a danger to the Israeli Navy vessels in the Mediterranean Sea.
Russia plans to go ahead with the deal to sell P-800 Yakhont supersonic anti-ship cruise missiles to Syria. The announcement was made after the Russian official met with U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates and other Pentagon officials.
The P-800 Yakhont missiles, or P-800 Oniks, have a range of 300 kilometers. They carry a 200-kilogram warhead and feature a unique ability to cruise several meters above the surface which makes them very difficult to detect and intercept.
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