– Syria says Russia committed to S-300 systems contract (PressTV, July 23, 2013):
Syrian Deputy Prime Minister Qadri Jamil says all agreements for Russia’s contract to deliver S-300 air defense missile systems to Damascus are still in place.
Jamil also said Russia and Syria are discussing the possibility of Moscow extending a loan to Damascus.
– Russia defends S-300 deal with Syria (PressTV, July 22, 2013):
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has defended his country’s S-300 air defense missile deal with Syria as a transparent and legal contract.
“The contract on S-300s is absolutely legal, it’s transparent and it’s fully in line with the international norms and with the Russian export control legislation,” Lavrov said on Friday.
During an interview with Lebanon’s al-Manar TV in late May, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said Damascus is already in possession of the first batch of S-300 missile defense systems from Russia.
He added that the second shipment of the Russian systems will be delivered to Syria soon. The Syrian president pointed out that Syria would respond to any Israeli aggression against the country.
Lavrov also criticized the US talk about a possible no-fly zone over Syria as a setback to the upcoming peace talks in Geneva.
The Pentagon confirmed on June 15 that US F-16 warplanes and Patriot anti-aircraft missiles would remain in Jordan after the end of a joint drill this month, fuelling reports that Washington was preparing to impose a no-fly zone over Syria.
“…the Americans are leaving Patriots after this exercise in Jordan, together with F-16 planes, and no one is asking them not to do this,” said Lavrov.
He said such a stance encourages militants to intensify fighting instead of sitting down for talks.
On May 7, Russia and the United States agreed in Moscow to convene an international conference on Syria, which will serve as a follow-up to an earlier Geneva meeting held in June 2012.
“The region is really full of weapons, including offensive weapons which have been supplied in the past to the countries of the region, and some of these weapons are infiltrating into Syria,” Lavrov added.
He described as a “very big mistake” the promise made by Washington and the European Union to supply arms to foreign-backed militant in Syria.
The Russian foreign minister also called for an end to what he called “confrontational debates and one-sided resolutions” on Syria.
Unrest has gripped Syria since March 2011, and many people, including large numbers of Syrian security forces, have been killed in the unrest.
The Syrian government maintains that the chaos in the country is being orchestrated from outside and there are reports that a very large number of the militants are foreign nationals.
– Russia to fulfill S-300 systems contract with Syria: Lavrov (PressTV, July 20, 2013):
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says Moscow will honor its contract to deliver S-300 air defense missile systems to the Syrian government.
“We respect all our contracts and are honoring all our contractual obligations [vis-à-vis Syria],” Lavrov said in an interview with Russian-language news channel Rossiya 24.
He added, “As yet, the contracts are not finished, they have not been delivered in full.”
Lavrov further noted that Russia would block all demands for the resignation of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government at the forthcoming Geneva conference.
The Russian foreign minister stated that those calls were a “direct affront to us” from certain Persian Gulf states.
Lavrov also repeated Russia’s strong objection to a no-fly zone to be implemented over Syria.
He also cautioned Western states arming militants fighting against the Syrian government, stressing that most weapons would fall into the hands of armed men from the al-Qaeda-linked al-Nusra Front.
During an interview with Lebanon’s al-Manar TV in late May, Assad said Damascus is already in possession of the first batch of S-300 missile defense systems from Russia.
He noted that the second shipment of the Russian systems will be delivered to Syria soon. The Syrian president pointed out that Syria would respond to any Israeli aggression against the country.
Russia says that the shipment of the S-300 missile defense systems is aimed at deterring foreign intervention in Syria.
Syria has been gripped by turmoil since March 2011 and the foreign-sponsored militancy has taken its toll on the lives of many people, including large numbers of Syrian soldiers and security personnel.