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Russia rules out arms supply to Palestine

Written by: Staff

Moscow, March 28 (UNI) Russian Defence Minister Sergei Ivanov said today that his country will not sell weapons to Palestine without agreement with Israel.

''As far as assistance through the Russian Defence Ministry's channels is concerned, I can say nothing in particular. Such issues have been discussed and examined. They should be transparent and keep in view the opinions of all of the conflicting sides,'' Mr Ivanov told mediapersons at a press conference.

He was referring to the negotiations which were held on sales of armoured personnel carriers to Palestine, before the Hamas, the radical Islamic group, won the parliamentary elections in January.

''But the situation is different today. A change of power has taken place in the Palestinian territories and elections have been held in Israel. After stability is restored, it will be possible to reconsider this issue and hold transparent talks,'' he added.

Mr Ivanov, however, said that Russia will continue giving economic assistance to the Palestinian National Authority (PNA).

''Russia renders and will render financial aid to the Palestinian administration, because nobody wants new and even more burning social and economic problems there,'' he stressed.

Earlier this month, a Hamas delegation led by Khaled Meshaal visited Russia and held discussion with the Russian authorities on the situation in West Asia after the radical Islamic group won the parliamentary elections.

Russia along with other members of the ''Quartet'' including UN, EU and the US, has demanded that Hamas recognise Israel, renounce violence and meet commitments pledged by the previous Palestinian leaders.


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