Israel and Russia in arms accord

September 6, 2010

Israel has signed the framework of a military co-operation agreement with Russia that could lead to exports of weapons and technology.

Israel defence minister Ehud Barak met his Russian opposite number Anatoly Serdyukov in Moscow on Monday where they discussed both weapons and military co-operation.

A statement from Mr Barak’s office afterwards said that he had raised the threat from Iran and the continuing support and arming of terror groups by Syria as Israel’s main security worries.

Israel has tried to halt the flow of weapons to the two countries and was bolstered when Russia said it would not deliver anti-aircraft missiles to Iran while the new UN sanctions over its nuclear programme were in place.

Mr Serdyukov commented through the Defence Ministry press service: “We have just signed a long-term agreement on military co-operation. It's very important to us that in the transition to a new image, the Russian armed forces use the experience the Israeli armed forces have and the work they have done.”

The ministry did not reveal details of the agreement, which was the latest sign of tightening ties between the nations. Russia has drawn closer to Israel since the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union, a supporter of Arab nations in the Middle East.

Russia has sought to build up a fleet of Israeli-made spy drones since Georgia used such Israeli aircraft against Russia in their brief 2008 war. Mr Serdyukov said Russia has bought 12 of the pilotless aircraft and is training 50 servicemen to operate them.

Last updated: 1:24pm, May 11 2011