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RF president to hold talks with Israeli prime minister

May 14, 2013, 0:34 UTC+3
Putin on May 6 had a telephone conversation with Netanyahu
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Photo EPA/ITAR-TASS

Photo EPA/ITAR-TASS

  MOSCOW, May 14 (Itar-Tass) - Russian President Vladimir Putin will hold talks on Tuesday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who will arrive in Russia on a working visit.

The Kremlin press service reported that “at the meeting the sides plan to exchange views on key aspects of bilateral relations.” “Major attention is to be given to the current situation in the Middle East, especially in Syria,” the statement says.

RF presidential press secretary Dmitry Peskov told Itar-Tass on Monday that “the cornerstone of the negotiations will certainly be the situation around Syria, which, regrettably, tends to further exacerbate and cannot but cause extreme concern of Russia and Israel in the context of tomorrow’s talks.” He predicts that “serious negotiations will take place.”

A source close to the Israeli leadership told Itar-Tass earlier that “the main issue of the negotiations will be the problems around the supplies of Russian weapons to the region, to Syria, in particular.”

Putin on May 6 had a telephone conversation with Netanyahu. “They discussed the situation in the region, the state of affairs in Syria,” said the then RF president’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov.

A few days before this conversation, the Western media reported Israeli air strike on targets in Syria. Officially, Israel has not confirmed this information.

In recent days, the foreign press has also reported that the Jewish state is concerned over the rumours that Moscow intends to supply to Damascus the S-300 air defence systems. However, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has denied these rumours, saying that Russia fulfils only previously signed contracts with Syria.

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 addition to the Syrian issue, according to the Haaretz newspaper, Netanyahu is interested in discussing with the Russian leadership the Iranian nuclear issue.

Dmitry Peskov said for his part that “in addition to the main focus on the Syrian issue, the two leaders will have enough time to discuss the bilateral relations’ agenda.” He described them as “fairly advanced, highly multi-faceted.” Among the main cooperation spheres Peskov named the gas industry, tourism and humanitarian ties.

 

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