Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Russia denies talks of Syria missile deal

Associated Press

MOSCOW – Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov denied Friday that Russia was holding secret talks with Syria over a deal to provide the Middle Eastern country with high-precision missile systems.

“We don’t have any secret topics that we discuss with Syria,” he said. “We adhere to all our international obligations and will not allow them to be breached.”

He said that talks were underway on Syrian President Bashar Assad’s visit to Russia later this month.

ITAR-Tass news agency quoted Assad as saying Syrian acquistion of Russian missiles “will not be on the agenda of the Moscow negotiations between the two presidents.”

Israeli officials alleged that Russia and Syria had signed a deal for the sale of advanced Igla SA-18 missiles a few days ago, and Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom said that his country had asked Russia to call off the sale, claiming the weapons would disrupt regional stability.

“We turned to the Russians and asked that they not complete this deal,” Shalom said. “Syria is a country that supports terror and is supplying Hezbollah with weapons nonstop.”

Syrian Foreign Minister Farouk al-Sharaa also denied that his country had struck a deal with Russia.