Israel calls on Russia to honor embargo

Monday, August 14, 2006 |  by Staff Writer
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni are sending a high ranking diplomatic and security delegation to Moscow designed to help implement the arms embargo against Hizballah as it appears in the Security Council Resolution.

The delegation will be led by head of Israel’s National Security Council Ilan Mizrahi and the Foreign Ministry’s Deputy Director General for Eurasia Mark Sofer. The delegation will include representatives of the Israel Defense Forces and the Mossad. Israel attributes great importance to Russia’s support of Resolution 1701. The reason for that: Russia is the top supplier of weapons to Syria.

The delegation will present the Russians with proof that anti-tank missiles Russia sold to Syria found their way into the hands of Hizballah and had inflicted much damage on Israeli Army soldiers. The delegation will present the Russians with a clear demand to prevent weapons from reaching Hizballah.

PM Ehud Olmert spoke over the weekend with Russian President Vladimir Putin and raised the issue of weapons transfer. Israel has no doubt that if the Russians had known that these weapons were reaching the Hizballah, they would avoid sending them. Despite that, the Russians have denied that the weapons used were their own, and demanded proof that the weapons are indeed Russian, including serial numbers of the missiles. Israel, in response, created a detailed dossier to be presented in Moscow.

Diplomatic officials say that this is a very sensitive subject but it is clear that Israel could not stay oblivious to the situation where a country who presents itself as being friendly to Israel, is indirectly selling weapons to a terrorist organization hurting the citizens of Israel and its soldiers.

Israel is also interested in Russia sending troops to join the new UNIFIL force, something that may compel the Russians to increase the supervision on the weapons they are sending to the area in fear that these weapons might be used against their own soldiers.

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