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Russia to Sell Weapons to Syria

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov says Moscow will go ahead with a controversial weapons sale to Syria.

Russian news agencies quote Mr. Ivanov as saying Russia will supply Strelets air defense systems to Syria. He said Moscow believes the sale will not disrupt the balance of forces in the region.

Mr. Ivanov spoke after meeting with Ukraine's defense minister, Anatoliy Hrytsenko, in Moscow. Tuesday's comments come one day before Russian President Vladimir Putin is to travel to Israel.

The Israeli government has expressed concern that the weapons could fall into the hands of terrorists.

Mr. Ivanov also said Moscow theoretically could begin withdrawing from the two remaining Soviet-era bases in Georgia this year if there is an agreement on a date for completing the pullout. Russia's foreign minister made similar comments Monday.

Georgia has demanded a quick pullout, while Moscow says it could take years.

Some information for this report provided by AP and AFP.