Thursday, May 16, 2013

Netanyahu visits Putin in bid to sway Russia on Syria

May 15, 2013

MOSCOW (AFP) - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday to warn Moscow against sending arms to Syria as alarm grows over the spiralling death toll in the conflict.

In concluding remarks following talks at the Russian strongman's Black Sea residence in Sochi, the two leaders gave little away about their closed-door meeting.

But Putin's official spokesman Dmitry Peskov confirmed that Israel had raised the issue and that Russia defended the arms deliveries.

"The issue was raised. The Russian Federation presented its arguments, which are well known," Russia's Interfax news agency quoted Peskov as saying.

Russia's position "was heard," Peskov added, without providing further details except to say that the meeting went "well".

Israel wants Russia to halt supplies of the formidable S-300 missiles that would severely complicate any future air attacks against the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Netanyahu himself did not mention the sensitive weapons issue in public but Putin warned against any destabilising moves in the Middle East, days after Israeli forces launched air strikes against regime targets in Syria.

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