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Russia says pumping MidEast with arms jeopardizes entire region


08:40, June 05, 2013

MOSCOW, June 4 (Xinhua) -- The region around war-torn Syria was awash with foreign weapons, posing a substantial threat to Middle East stability, the Russian Foreign Ministry said Tuesday.

"We have repeatedly voiced our position that the explosion-prone region has been pumped with foreign-made weapons," ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said in a statement.

His remarks came a day after U.S. Department of State spokesperson Jennifer Psaki said U.S. F-16 fighter jets and Patriot missile systems intended for Exercise Eager Lion in Jordan could remain in that country if the Jordanian government requested it.

Psaki said the arms might be kept there in light of "escalating violence along Jordan's borders," but adding no decision had yet been made.

Lukashevich said similar anti-aircraft batteries had been deployed in Turkey since the beginning of 2013 and NATO warplanes were also stationed there.

"(These weapons) are being deployed in the direct vicinity of Syria where, for more than two years, a destructive conflict has been raging," Lukashevich said.

Lukashevich said Moscow, along with Washington, had been trying to end that conflict through offering to convene an international conference as soon as possible.

Russian, the United States and UN officials will meet in Geneva Wednesday to prepare for the conference.

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