Israeli officials dismissed reports of a quid pro quo with Russia involving a cancellation of antiaircraft missiles to Syria in return for Israeli acquiescence in Russian participation in the U.N. peacekeeping force on the Golan.
Sources in both the Foreign Ministry and the Prime Minister’s Office denied knowledge of any such deal, according to The Jerusalem Post. One said that it sounded very unlikely, and he’d heard nothing of it before the report surfaced in the London-based Arabic daily Ashraq Al- Awsat.
Meanwhile, Fiji’s interim prime minister, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, said Russia offered to assist Fiji with its U.N. deployment, according to a broadcast on Radio Australia.
Col. Jone Baledrokadroka, a former Land Forces commander in the Fiji Army, said that the suspension of Fiji’s defense relationship with Australia opened the way to its Russian association.
“Fiji is not really able to deploy to such U.N. hotspots without assistance from larger countries,” Baledrokadroka said. “Equipment has been provided by the Russians for the deployment of the battalion.”
Baledrokadroka said Moscow “has its own interests in the Middle East, and it is using Fiji. Fiji has become like a mercenary.”