MTC between Moscow and Damascus aimed at strengthening Syrian defense capability - Russia's Foreign Minister

Moscow is delivering certain air defense weapons to Damascus in the framework of its outstanding obligations, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said.

"The bulk of the weapons were delivered to Syria by the Soviet Union. Presently we are completing the fulfillment of obligations undertaken earlier related mainly to the delivery of certain air defense means," he said in an interview with Egypt's Al-Ahram. The text of the interview was posted on the Russian Foreign Ministry website on Monday.

"Such arms exports are of defense nature and don't contradict any international conventions," he said.

"As for Russian-Syrian military-technical cooperation (MTC), it has always been aimed at building up the defense capability of Syria in the face of a possible outside threat, not supporting Bashar al-Assad or anyone else," Lavrov said.

He again expressed concern about arms deliveries of other countries to the Syrian opposition.

"The declaration of principles of international law adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1970 says that no state should organize, support or finance armed actions aimed at overthrowing the regime in another state by force," he said.

"How does this obligation correspond with the actions of some of our foreign partners rendering various kinds of 'assistance' to militarized opposition groups? To say nothing of the fact that Al Qaeda militants are also fighting in Syria and the West has starting thinking whether the arms illegally delivered to Syria may filter into unwanted hands," the minister said.

"If all countries the representatives of which on June 30 in Geneva voted for a balanced, reasonable foundation for a political settlement of the Syrian crisis would exert pressure on both the government and all opposition groups compelling them to stop hostilities and sit down to the negotiating table, the chances of the mission of the UN/LAS special envoy Lakhdar Brahimi would have been much greater," he said.

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