Syria inks deal with Moscow for air defense, advanced fighter-jets
Writer/Source: worldtribune.com (18/5/2010)
A senior Russian official said Damascus and Moscow have signed a multi-billion-dollar deal for the delivery of a range of platforms to the Syrian military.
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Russian Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation director Mikhail Dmitriyev cited the upgraded MiG-29SMT, Pantsyr-S1 air defense batteries and unidentified anti-tank and anti-aircraft artillery systems.
The statement by Dmitriyev on May 14, quoted by the Moscow-based Itar-Tass news agency, after a two-day visit by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev to Syria. During his stay, Medvedev said Russia was said to have discussed military cooperation with Syria, but no agreement was announced.
In 1987, Syria ordered 20 MiG-29 aircraft from the Soviet Union. Over the last decade, most of the aircraft were said to have been sidelined by lack of maintenance and training.
Over the last five years, Syria sought to purchase upgraded MiG-29s. In September 2009, a senior Russian official said Moscow had signed a contract to supply the MiG-29SMT and the MiG-31, but the contracts were suspended.
During the visit, Russian officials said the Kremlin was also examining the feasibility of supplying a nuclear reactor to Syria. Damascus has refused to allow inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency of a suspected plutonium plant destroyed by Israel in 2007.
"Cooperation on atomic energy could get a second wind," Medvedev said.
Dmitriyev also said the Kremlin has been discussing arms sales with Syria's neighbor and ally, Turkey.
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