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Russia to continue arms supplies to Syria

Russia to continue arms supplies to SyriaParis, June 13 - Russia's state-controlled arms trader Rosoboronexport intends to fulfill its contract for the supply of armaments to Syria.

"No one can ever accuse Russia of violating the rules of armaments trade set by the international community," Rosoboronexport deputy CEO Igor Sevastyanov said.

"The contract was signed long ago and we supply armaments that are self-defence rather than attack weapons, and there can be no talk about any violations by Russia or Rosoboronexport either de jure or de facto," he said in response to a question about whether Russia would fulfill its contract for the supply of Pantsyr mobile gun and missile air defence systems to Syria.

Sevastyanov said it was the UN Security Council that served as an instrument of supporting global stability.

He referred to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov who said that "even with the greatest fantasy, it is hard to imagine that air defence systems can be used to suppress opposition actions".

"The contracts that were signed and do not contradict international law must be fulfilled. If the international community adopts other decisions, they will be fulfilled by Russia," Sevastyanov said.

Russian President Vladmir Putin has said that Moscow was not supplying arms to Syria which can be used against protesters.

"As for arms supplies, Russia is not supplying arms that could be used in civil conflicts," Putin said at a joint news conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin lastr week.

Syria is one of Russia's major weapons clients, and Moscow has opposed a proposal for a UN arms embargo on Damascus.

Russia has supplied Syria with Bastion coastal missile systems with Yakhont cruise missiles and Buk surface-to-air missile systems under a contract signed in 2007.

According to UN estimates, about 10,000 people have been killed in Syria since the beginning of a popular uprising against President Bashar al-Assad in March 2011. (IANS)