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Russia, Israel sign defence cooperation pact


A file photo.

MOSCOW (PTI): Russia and Israel Monday signed their first-ever defence cooperation agreement to boost military ties between the two countries that would help them fight common threats like terrorism and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

The five-year defence cooperation agreement was signed by Russian Defence Minister Anatoly Serdyukov and his Israeli counterpart Ehud Barak here after their talks.

"Our views on many modern challenges are close or coincide. First of all, it concerns terrorism and non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction," Serdyukov said in his televised remarks.

Barak said Israel is closely following the situation in Russia's North Caucasus, as both countries are under the threat of "radical Islamic terrorism".

"Russia is a central country in the world, and also very important to our region," he said.

The defence pact, some details of which are being kept under wraps, is a framework agreement and would cover a wide range of issues of Russian-Israeli military cooperation, including joint weapons development projects and cooperation in third countries, sources in Russian Defence Ministry told PTI.

"Russia and Israel are already working jointly on several projects for India, including on the Phalcon airborne radars," Russian military sources said.

The agreement signed provides a legal base for entering into concrete military deals, they added.

Under the framework pact, Russia will buy 12 UAVs from Israel, ITAR-TASS reported.

Minister Serdyukov said that 50 technicians are already being trained to operate them Russia could build a joint facility for manufacturing Israeli drones for anti-terror combat.

The pact provides for military exchange of experience and information in spheres of mutual interests, which includes issues of international security.

It also dwells on development of military education, medicine, physical training and other issues.

Barak, who arrived here on Sunday on a three-day visit, is expected to fly to Black Sea resort of Sochi for a key meeting with Prime Minister Vladimir Putin before leaving for home tomorrow.

The situation in West Asia will come up for discussion at the meeting.

With the talks continuing between Israel and Palestine, Russia plays a crucial role as a peace mediator.

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