Russia halts military sales to Syria

July 9, 2012 at 10:54 AM
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MOSCOW, July 9 (UPI) -- Moscow announced Monday it wasn't sending any new military supplies to Syria until the situation there is stabilized.

Former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan met Monday in Damascus with Syrian President Bashar Assad in an effort to breathe new life into a peace plan that was to go into force in April. Annan, the architect of the fractured peace deal, was quoted by the BBC as saying both sides agreed to move ahead with "a political dialogue."

Conflict in Syria entered its 16th month in July. As many as 10,000 people have died as a result of the fighting, which the government blames on opposition groups supported by foreigners.

Moscow has been one of the opponents of formal action against Syria at the U.N. Security Council. The Kremlin, one of Syria's largest military suppliers, said it feared a protracted conflict like last year's civil war in Libya.

Vyacheslav Dzirkaln, deputy director of Russia's federal service for military cooperation, said Moscow would hold back on a $550 million contract for the Yak-130 combat training aircraft until the violence in Syria subsides.

"Russia, as well as other countries, is concerned by the situation in Syria," he was quoted by state-run news agency RIA Novosti as saying. "We are not talking about new arms supplies to that country."

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