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Report: Russian-donated MIG-29 to Lebanon “unsafe”

By Xinhua,

BEIRUT : A well-informed source Saturday advised the Lebanese government to “wait” before accepting the Russian-donated MIG-29 jet fighters that are possibly “unsafe”, Lebanese daily Al-Nahar report.

A report in Russian Kommersant business daily quoted military sources as saying that “one third of the MIG-29 should be written off as obsolete because they are too rusty to take off without crashing.”

A pilot was killed during a MIG-29 fighter crash in southern Siberia on Dec. 5 and another MIG-29 crashed in October last year, the report added.

Russia has promised to deliver ten MIG-29 jet fighters to Lebanon during a visit by Lebanese Defense Minister Elias Murr to Moscow in December as a gift to show new “military relationship” between the two countries.

The report in Al-Nahar also said that the Lebanese delegation headed by air force commander Brig. Gen. Michel Mnassa did not leave for Moscow last month as scheduled.

Meanwhile, another Lebanese military source told the Daily Star that the donated MIG-29 would be checked by Lebanese army experts before they are shipped to Lebanon.

Lebanese political leaders are open to arm deals. Lebanese President Michel Suleiman said Friday that Lebanon welcomes any arms donations on condition that no political concessions are given.

The MIG-29 was designed in 1970s to challenge the American F-15and F-16 jet fighters.