Israel asks Russia to cancel arms sale to Syria

Thursday, January 13, 2005 | 
Israel is asking Russia to cancel its proposed sale to Syria of advanced Russian missiles. Diplomatic dialogue is taking place between Jerusalem and Russia regarding the proposed sale of the advanced shoulder-launched surface-to-air SA-18 missiles to Syria. Experts say that the Russian made missiles are capable of carrying both conventional and nuclear warheads. The missiles have a 280 kilometer (174 mile) range and therefore pose a serious threat to Israel’s security. The concern of the defense establishment is that Syria could transfer the missiles to Hezballah, who then may give the missiles to a Palestinian terror group that could threaten aircraft taking off and landing at Ben-Gurion International Airport. Syrian President Bashar Assad is scheduled to visit Moscow on January 24 to sign the deal. It would be the first major Russian weapons deal with Syria in more than a decade.

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