Lieberman to talk to Russians about arms to Syria

Foreign minister to bring up issue of Russian ship-killing missiles sale to Syria with Russian officials in Lithuania.

Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman 311 (R) (photo credit: REUTERS/Baz Ratner)
Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman 311 (R)
(photo credit: REUTERS/Baz Ratner)
Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman is expected to discuss Russia’s recent delivery of ship-killing missiles to Syria during high level meetings this week with Russian officials in Lithuania and Russia.
According to an Interfax report last week, Russia recently delivered Yaknot cruise missiles it sold to Damascus in 2007. Both Israel and the US had intensively lobbied against the sale, and then against the delivery.
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Under the deal, worth a reported $300 million, Russia was believed to be contracted to deliver 72 missiles, which it said will protect Syria’s coast from possible attack.
Israel expressed concern in the past that these missiles would fall into Hezbollah’s hands.
The delivery of the missiles to Moscow’s traditional ally in the Middle East comes in defiance of Western calls for an arms embargo against Syria because of the continuing violence there.
Lieberman is expected to meet Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on the sidelines of a conference of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe that opened Sunday night in Vilnius. In addition to Lavrov, Lieberman is scheduled to meet the foreign ministers of 13 countries, including Britain, Sweden, the Netherlands, Azerbaijan and Mongolia.
From Vilnius, Lieberman will travel to Moscow on Thursday for a joint Russian- Israeli economic meeting, during which he will meet with Russian Deputy Prime Minister Viktor Zubkov.