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MV Alaed to Head for Syria Escorted and Flying Russian Flag

MV Alaed to Head for Syria Escorted and Flying Russian Flag 25.06.2012
Text: Vzglyad
Photo by allurbanradio.com
Under way from Murmansk to Syria, cargo ship MV Alaed will be provided with escort to avoid "unpleasant situations" which could be then explained as "pirates or environment", said a military diplomat in Moscow having noted that Russian Navy's ships would not interfere in this "ambiguous issue".

"The ship Alaed when departing from Murmansk and through the whole way to Syrian port Tartus will be necessarily provided with escort to avoid provocations", said the source of Interfax.

"When sailing alone, the ship may get into an unpleasant situation which then could be justified by pirates or sea environment, so Alaed needs eyewitnesses and, if necessary, prompt assistance", he said.

The interviewee stressed that Alaed would be escorted not by a warship or supply vessel subordinated to Russian Navy "in order to avoid undesirable involvement of Russian Navy in this complex and ambiguous issue; the cargo ship will be accompanied with a civil vessel".

The expert added that the flag-changing procedure on MV Alaed could last indefinite period of time.

Meanwhile, ex-chief of defense ministry's international cooperation department Gen. Leonid Ivashov commenting the forced return of cargo ship Alaed to Russia said that in future Russian arms must be delivered to Syria only by Russian-flagged vessels and escorted by warships.

"The need for changing the flag of Curacao for the Russian one indicates that Russian party has strong reasons to do that. First of all, to avoid possible interception and detention of the ship in neutral waters", Ivashov said.

The general added that "it is absolutely obvious that in future Russian arms deliveries to Syria should be carried out only by Russian-flagged civil vessels escorted by Russian Navy's warships".

Commenting possible interception of MV Alaed in neutral waters of northern seas prior to her arrival in Murmansk by third countries, primarily NATO ones, Ivashov said that "sure, it can be done, but I hope that NATO strategists are quite wise not to do that in order to avoid encounter with Northern Fleet warships which will definitely protect Alaed".

According to Ivashov, the UN Security Council has not imposed arms embargo on Syria, so "by assent of Syrian authorities, any kind of warships and civil vessels may call at Syria's ports and carry out any operations there".

As for the general, continuing deliveries of Russian armaments to Syria under contracts tied between Moscow and Damascus "extremely irritate foes of Syrian state, and they apply all efforts to either cancel or hinder those deliveries".

Annulling of insurance of the Curacao-flagged ship heading for Syria with air defense weapons and helicopters on board is "definitely anti-Russian and anti-Syrian step orchestrated by NATO allies with the view to impede delivery of Russian arms to Damascus", Ivashov said.

As was recently reported by Vzglyad, Russia was involuntarily drawn in the international scandal inspired by the US State Secretary Hillary Clinton. Shortly after her statement that Russia was supplying Syria with arms by-passing UN sanctions which was confirmed incorrect even by the Pentagon a Russian ship was found off Scotland carrying helicopters to Syria.

Despite the fact that the helicopters were not new ones but vamped under old contract not coming within the UN sanctions, British underwriters by government's direction annulled insurance of the Alaed's owner; that fact aroused harsh reaction of Moscow. On Friday, June 22, Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov declared that Russia would not apologize to the US for implementation of defense contracts with Syria.

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