First Published: 2008-08-11

Israel won't stop arms sales to Georgia

Israeli public radio reports defence ministry decides to continue issuing licenses to export arms to Georgia.


Middle East Online

Tension rose between Georgia and Russia

JERUSALEM - Israel has decided not to halt arms sales to Georgia, public radio reported on Monday, citing defence ministry sources.

The foreign ministry had recommended a complete halt to the sale of weapons to Georgia for fear of spurring Russia to increase its support of Syria and Iran, the Haaretz newspaper reported on Sunday.

Israel, the region's sole power with nuclear weapons, is concerned about the transfer of S-300 anti-aircraft missiles to Iran, which could be used to protect Tehran’s nuclear installations.

Iran has always insisted its nuclear programme is peaceful.

Public radio said the defence ministry decided on Sunday it would continue issuing licenses to export arms to Georgia, but on a limited scale and under close supervision.

Around a year ago, Israel decided to limit its weapons supplies to Georgia to weaponry and military advisors.

A defence ministry official said that decision had been taken as tension rose between Georgia and Russia.

"We didn't want to become the main supplier of weapons to Georgia and our exports were limited to 200 million dollars (120 million euros) over two years," he said.

Israel has in the past sold aerial drones, night-vision equipment, and rockets to Georgia, and many retired officers from the Israel's military and internal security services work as military advisors there.


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