MOSCOW (Reuters) - Moscow said on Thursday 50 Russian armored personnel carriers would soon be delivered to the Palestinians for internal security, a move Israel has blocked in the past.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Andrei Nesterenko told reporters the vehicles would be delivered to Jordan in the coming days and then handed over to Palestinian security forces in the West Bank.
Palestinian government spokesman Ghassan al-Khatib told Reuters: “There are about 50 armored vehicles in Jordan donated by Russia. These are not new armored vehicles and still awaiting Israeli approval.”
Nesterenko later clarified that the armored vehicles were already in Jordan and would be delivered to the Palestinians within days, according to Itar-Tass news agency. Nesterenko could not immediately be reached for further comment.
Russia first offered to supply 50 armored vehicles to the Palestinians for internal security as early as 2005, stressing that they would be used only to maintain law and order.
Israel opposed the delivery, and there are no armored personnel carriers in the West Bank for the use of the Palestinian Authority’s National Security Forces.
Reporting by Ben Judah, writing by Guy Faulconbridge and Steve Gutterman