Benjamin Netanyahu AP September 5, 2010
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu chairing a weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem on Sept. 5, 2010. Photo by AP
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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu admitted on Sunday that despite intensive diplomacy, Israel had failed to dissuade Russia from selling advanced missiles to Syria.

Speaking at Sunday's weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, Netanyahu told ministers that Russian plans to go ahead with the delivery of P-800 anti-ship missiles to Syria was "problematic" for Israel.

"We have been aware of this deal for some time and there were discussions with the Russians at every level," Netanyahu said.

Syria signed a deal to buy the P-800 Yakhont supersonic cruise missiles from Russia in 2007. Israel says the weapons pose significant danger to its naval vessels in the Mediterranean and could upset the strategic balance in the region.

"To our regret, the deal is now proceeding in stages and that is problematic for us," Netanyahu said, adding that the Syrian missiles were part of the reason behind Israel's recent decision to upgrade its air force with new American F-35 warplanes.

"We are dealing with a new arsenal of missiles and rockets and there has to be a military response to that," he said.