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 USA temper tantrum over Syrian veto: Congress bans Russian arms sales to American allies.

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PostSubject: USA temper tantrum over Syrian veto: Congress bans Russian arms sales to American allies.   Sat Jul 21, 2012 1:39 am

US congressmen have voted to cancel a
Pentagon arms contract with Russia for
supplying helicopters to American allies
in Afghanistan. The move comes after
Russia and China vetoed a US-backed
UN Security Council resolution on Syria.
The two countries said the western-
backed document is biased against
Damascus and will not only further
aggravate the turmoil, but also result the
conflict spilling over into other countries
in the region.
The amendment to the 2013 Pentagon
defense spending bill banning further
purchases from Russia’s arms exporter
Rosoboronexport was adopted by a vote
of 407-5. It prohibits the US military from
buying 10 Mil Mi-17 transport helicopters
for the Afghan military, ultimately axing a
deal worth more than $170 million.
Afghanistan needed the Russian-made
aircraft as well as spare parts, ground
support equipment and maintenance
services to beef up its security services.
Many Afghan pilots and mechanical
engineers have been familiar with the
Russian equipment since the time of the
Soviet invasion in the 1980s.
Mi-17s are well-suited for the country’s
harsh conditions, including hot
temperatures, sandy winds and
mountainous terrain.
Democrat Representative Jim Moran,
who introduced the measure, claimed
that the Russian arms export giant sells
and ships sniper rifles and attack
helicopters to the government of Syrian
President Bashar al-Assad.
Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov
commented on the issue a month ago in
an exclusive interview with RT during the
International Economic Forum 2012 in
Saint Petersburg.
“We are sending no battleships to Syria.
We have been saying publicly that we
have been implementing contracts under
which we have to supply arms to Syria.
Those armaments are entirely defensive
and they mostly consist of air defense
systems, which cannot be used against
the population and can only be used to
respond to outside aggression,” he said.
As for the helicopters, Russia’s Foreign
Minister added, “It [the ship] was
carrying three helicopters which had
been repaired in Russia under contracts
signed in 2008. Those are Soviet
helicopters. They are still to be
assembled after delivery. The entire
process will take no less than three
months.”
The latest cancellation of the US-Russia
contract came hours after Russia and
China vetoed a UN Security Council
resolution on Syria , and unless the
government complied, economic
sanctions or even military action against
the Syrian government would be
possible.
Some western countries have been
voicing increasing irritation Moscow and
Beijing’s resistance towards ratcheting
up pressure on Damascus.
At the so-called Friends of Syria
gathering this month, US Secretary of
State Hillary Clinton said Russia and
China were “holding up progress” in the
crisis and will “pay a price” for it.
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