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Russian President Vladimir Putin settled some outstanding questions regarding Russia’s pending delivery of the S-300 surface to air missile system to the Syrian government at the Russia-EU 2013 Summit in Ekaterinburg on Tuesday. Standing in between European Council President Herman Van Rompuy and President of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso, Putin informed the audience that the contact has yet to be completed.
The announcement came as a response to a question by a journalist at the press conference after the conclusion of the summit.
“We gave much attention on the situation in Syria. On our side, we reiterate that any attempt to use force from an outside intervention are doomed to failure and will incur heavy humanitarian costs,” said Mr. Putin. “What are the obstacles? The obstacles are that the lack of good will on the side of the armed opposition, the lack of a single platform of the armed opposition, and the impossibility to determine the composition of participants on the side of the armed opposition to take part in the conference. We hope that all of these questions will be solved as quickly as possible.”
“Concerning the S-300, this is definitely one of the best missile systems in the world, if not the best. It probably is the best. This is, of course, a serious weapon. We do not want to disturb the balance in the region. The contract was written several years ago, but has not yet been completed.”
European Commission President Herman van Rompuy expressed European support for the recent push by the Russian and US governments for a peace summit involving both sides in the Syrian conflict.
“On Syria, the European Union welcomes the joint Russian-US initiative for the Geneva 2 conference,” he said. “We are giving our full support to this very important political peace process.”
The 31st Russia-EU summit in Ekaterinburg got off to a promising start when Putin highlighted the record trade volume between the two powers, which grew 4.1 per cent to $410.3 billion (€314.2 billion) in 2012.
Summit topics ranged from focus on pressing foreign policy issues, such as the conflict in Syria, as well as the growth and development of international organisations, including the Russian-led Eurasian Union and the Arctic Council. Both Russian Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy for the European Union Baroness Catherine Ashton were in attendance at the high level talks.
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