Lavrov: Russia Not Planning to Give Syria Advanced Weapons
Russia is not planning to supply Syria with any weapons beyond the current contracts that are nearing completion, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Friday, according to a report in RT News.
Lavrov was refuting speculations that Moscow was going to sell S-300 air defense systems to Damascus. The Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday that Israel has warned the United States that Russia plans to sell these advanced weapons to Syria, and that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu spoke with U.S. President Barack Obama to make him aware of the deal.
“Russia does not plan to sell,” Lavrov told reporters, upon being asked on S-300 air defense systems rumors. He stressed that Russia has only been fulfilling contracts that have already been signed with Syria for defensive weapons.
On Thursday, the White House urged Russia not to sell weapons to Syria, saying that such assistance to Damascus is "particularly destabilizing to the region."
“I think we’ve made it crystal clear we would prefer that Russia was not supplying assistance ” to the Syrian regime in its war against opposition forces, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said in Rome Thursday, according to RT.
Kerry did not directly respond to the Wall Street Journal report, but said the United States has repeatedly opposed arms deals in the past. According to intelligence reports, Russia sent several S-300 batteries and spare parts in 2011, to help Assad fight the rebels who had begun attacking the regime.
He reiterated the U.S. position against transfers of missile systems to Syria because of the possible threat to Israel.
Russia and the U.S. have in a deadlock over the Syrian conflict and thus far failed to agree on an approach to resolve the two-year long crisis in the war-torn country.
While Washington insists that Assad and his regime must step down, Moscow maintains that only the Syrian people should decide and foreign interference should not be the determining factor.
Kerry, who visited Russia this week, spoke with both Lavrov and President Vladimir Putin. The two countries agreed to push both warring sides in the Syria conflict to find a negotiated solution and to hold an international conference in search of peace.
(Arutz Sheva’s North American Desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)