Thursday, December 18, 2008
White House shocked by Lebanon fighter jet deal with Russia
WASHINGTON — The Bush administration has been dismayed by the efforts
of the Lebanese government to seek weapons from Iran and Russia. Officials said
the government of Prime Minister Fuad Siniora was urged by Washington not to
acquire offensive combat platforms that could be seized by the
Officials said the State Department has contacted the Lebanese Foreign
Ministry for clarification of Lebanon's decision to procure the MiG-29
fighter-jet from Moscow, Middle East Newsline reported. They said the procurement would escalate regional
tension, particularly with Lebanon's southern neighbor, Israel.
In Moscow, Russia announced plans to supply 10 surplus MiG-29 Fulcrum
fighter-jets to Lebanon. The Russian Federal Military Cooperation Service
said the planes would be modernized and supplied free of charge.
"Joint efforts with our Lebanese colleagues are now underway that deal
with the purchase of Russian armored vehicles, artillery and other military
hardware, as well as other types of armaments," Mikhail Dmitriyev, director
of the Russian agency, said. "This means assistance in budgetary funds."
"This is very early yet [for a U.S. response]," Deputy Assistant Defense
Secretary Christopher Straub, responsible for the Middle East, said.
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