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Kerry: S-300 Deal Endangers Israel

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says Russia's deal to sell S-300 to Syria is "not helpful" and puts Israel at risk.
By Elad Benari, Canada
First Publish: 5/31/2013, 9:26 PM

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle
Reuters

Russia’s deal to sell advanced S-300 missile systems to Syria endangers Israel’s security, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Friday.

Speaking at a news conference with German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle, Kerry said that the delivery of the S-300 to Syria is "not helpful" for efforts to convene a peace conference, reported AFP.

The comments came ahead of a preparatory meeting in Geneva next week on a U.S.-Russian bid for talks to end Syria's two-year-old civil war.

"In Geneva, we will test who is serious. Are Russians serious about pushing for that? I believe they are. President (Vladimir) Putin said they are, (Foreign Minister) Sergei Lavrov has said it," Kerry said, according to AFP.

"Now, it is not helpful to have the S-300 transferred to the region while you are trying to organize this peace and create peace," he added.

"It is not helpful to have a lot of other ammunition and other supplies overtly going in not just from the Russians -- and they are supplying that kind of thing -- but also from the Iranians and Hizbullah," said Kerry.

He added the delivery would have a "profoundly negative impact on the balance of interests and the stability of the region, and it does put Israel at risk.

"And it is not, in our judgment, responsible because of the size of the weapon, the nature of the weapon and what it does to the region in terms of Israel's security," Kerry added.

Westerwelle expressed similar concern about the move to supply anti-aircraft missiles to President Bashar al-Assad's embattled regime.

"I would like to make this absolutely clear. We tell our Russian colleagues, don't endanger the conference in Geneva. The delivery of weapons to the Assad regime is totally wrong," he said, according to AFP.

Assad suggested this week that his government has already received the advanced air defense missiles, but on Friday, Russian media reported they had not yet been delivered.

Sources in Moscow said that the S-300s that Russia has promised Syria will be delivered only in 2014.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu met Russian leader Vladimir Putin two weeks ago, in an effort to forestall the transfer of the missiles to Syria. In recent days, there have been reports that the transfer of the advanced systems would not be carried out. However, Moscow said this week that it still plans to deliver the S-300 to Damascus, explaining the deliveries were part of existing contracts.

(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.)