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Too early to speak of Putin’s participation in int’l conference on Syria - Peskov

May 13, 2013, 21:01 UTC+3

He expects “serious talks” to be held

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SOCHI, May 13 (Itar-Tass) - The Kremlin has no detailed information about the upcoming international conference on Syria and it would be too early to speak about President Vladimir Putin’s participation in it, presidential spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said.

“We have no detailed information and work will be continued,” Peskov told ITAR-TASS on Monday, May 13.

When asked whether Putin would attend the conference, Peskov said, “Everything depends on the format of participation. It’s too early to speak about that.”

Peskov recalled that Putin and British Prime Minister David Cameron had discussed the preparation of the forum during their meeting on May 10. At the same time, he said “we have no detailed information” about Cameron’s talks with U.S. President Barack Obama on May 13.

The spokesperson noted that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would visit Sochi for talks with Putin on May 14. “The negotiations will naturally be dominated by the situation in Syria, which unfortunately tends to deteriorate further and cannot but be a matter of extreme concern here in Russia and, as far as the future is concerned, in Israel too,” Peskov said.

He expects “serious talks” to be held.

“Apart from focusing on Syria, the leaders will still have time to discuss the bilateral agenda,” he added.

Peskov described bilateral relations as “quite advanced and multifaceted”. Among key areas of cooperation he named gas industry, tourism and humanitarian ties.

President Vladimir Putin earlier noted positive dynamics in Russian-Israeli relations.

“We have a constant dialogue. Relations are evolving, primarily in the economic sphere,” Putin said.

Putin recalled that bilateral trade turnover between the two countries had increased by 54 percent last year.

“Absolute figures were not as outstanding, but the growth is quite remarkable in percentage points. It will be more modest this year but still the dynamics are positive,” he said.

In 2011, nearly 500,000 Russians visited Israel and more than 100,000 Israelis travelled to Russia.

“I am glad to say that we maintain humanitarian, economic and political relations,” Putin said.

Last year Russia and Israel marked the 20th anniversary of restoration of diplomatic relations.

Russia and Israel should maintain close coordination on pressing international and regional issues, Russian president’s special representative for the Middle East and Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov said at a meeting with Israel's Charge d’Affaires Olga Slov on May 6.

The diplomats “exchanged opinions on the situation in the Middle East, specifically in Syria, with a focus on the need for close coordination between Russia and Israel on pressing issues of the international and regional agenda,” the Foreign Ministry said.

“Special attention was paid to the state of and prospects for the development of Russian-Israeli bilateral relations,” the ministry said.

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