Russia to supply Lebanon with jet fighters, defence minister says
Russia has promised to deliver a batch of fighter jets to Lebanon, local media reports said Tuesday.
Lebanese radio, quoting Lebanese Defence Minister Elias Murr who is visiting Moscow, said that Russia had agreed to supply Lebanon with 10 MiG-29 fighters, reported dpa.
Murr was speaking in Moscow after talks with Russian Defence Minister Anatoly Serdyukov.
Russia has sought to expand its influence in the Middle East and hopes to host a Mideast peace conference next year. It is a member of the so-called Mideast Quartet, which also includes the United States, the European Union and the United Nations.
The new wave of aid to Lebanon's military, which also has received assistance from the United States this year, is meant to build an armed force that could help stabilize Lebanon, help to fight a rising terrorist threat and provide a legitimate alternative to the Shiite militant group Hezbollah.
Hezbollah, which controls southern Lebanon, has refused to disarm, arguing that it is the only force capable of defending the country against Israel.