Russia says Palestinians will soon get 50 armoured vehicles

29th June 2010, Comments 0 comments

The Palestinians will soon receive 50 Russia-made armoured vehicles that have been held up in Jordan, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Tuesday.

"We have sent the Palestinians 50 armoured vehicles, they have arrived in Jordan, and we hope that they will arrive here in the next few days," he told reporters in the West Bank, according to an official Arabic interpreter.

Lavrov spoke after meeting with the Western-backed Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas as part of an official visit to the region that included an earlier meeting with Israel's foreign minister.

The Israeli defence ministry and military would not immediately comment on the remarks.

In 2008 Israel authorised the provision of the vehicles, to be supplied by the Russian defence ministry, but their delivery has been repeatedly delayed.

They were to arrive in two shipments of 25 each, but Israel reserved the right to veto the second shipment if it feared they would fall into the hands of militants, a provision agreed to after Hamas took over Gaza in June 2007.

Israel held up the first shipment in December 2007 when the Palestinians requested that the vehicles be equipped with heavy machine guns.

© 2010 AFP

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