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    Israel mulling Russian offer to deliver arms to PNA forces

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    Israel signaled that it may accept a Russian proposal to supply military hardware to Palestinian security forces loyal to President Mahmoud Abbas, in a reversal of Tel Aviv's former position.

    SHARM EL-SHEIKH, June 26 (RIA Novosti) - Israel signaled that it may accept a Russian proposal to supply military hardware to Palestinian security forces loyal to President Mahmoud Abbas, in a reversal of Tel Aviv's former position.

    Russia first offered to supply Palestinian security forces with BRDM-2 reconnaissance vehicles and other armored carriers in spring 2005. Back then, Israeli authorities rejected the offer, citing concerns that the arms may fall into the hands of Palestinian extremists.

    "The Russian proposal is being discussed with all due seriousness," Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Amira Sharon said in a RIA Novosti interview. She accompanied Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to a four-party Mideast summit Monday, hosted by Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak at the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh.

    Israel, most Western nations, and moderate Arab states including Egypt have thrown their support behind Abbas and his emergency government in the West Bank following the violent takeover of Gaza by radical Islamist movement Hamas.

    Olmert met with Abbas in Sharm el-Sheikh Monday for the first time since the Hamas coup. The Israeli premier promised to restart peace talks with the moderate pro-presidential Fatah movement. He also pledged to free about 250 Fatah loyalists from Israeli prisons as a goodwill gesture, and to resume the transfer of frozen Palestinian tax revenues to the Fatah-controlled West Bank.

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