Russia's plan to sell Syria missiles angers Israel

Russia's plan to  sell Syria missiles angers Israel

The go-ahead for the $300 million Yakhont cruise missile deal was announced last week by Russian Defence Minister Anatoly Serdyukov, who told state-run news agency RIA it dated back to a 2007 contract and had met objections from the US, Israel’s ally.

“This (sale) complicates the situation. It does not contribute to stability and it does not create peace in the region. We will convey to Russia our position,” the “Israel Hayom” daily said.

Despite its fitful peace efforts with Syria, Israel remains mistrustful. Damascus backs Hezbollah guerrillas in neighbouring Lebanon and has made occasional veiled threats that war could be an option for regaining the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights. RIA on Friday quoted Serdyukov as saying the United States feared the Yakhonts could end up in the hands of “terrorists” — an apparent reference to Hezbollah, which surprised Israel by hitting one of its warships with a cruise missile in a 2006 war.

Lieberman said Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak had “dealt with the (Yakhont) issue, but things didn’t work out.” Russia, which is building up a fleet of Israeli-made drones, earlier pleased Israel by promising not to deliver S-300 anti-aircraft missiles to Iran while new UN sanctions over its nuclear programme are in place.

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