Netanyahu to meet with Putin in Moscow, discuss Russian arms sales to Syria

[11-05-2013 11:16 AM]

Ammon News - * Senior Israeli official says Netanyahu will visit Russia sometime in the next two weeks, and will also raise the issue of Iran's nuclear program.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will travel to Moscow in the next two weeks and meet with President Vladimir Putin, a senior Israeli official said on Friday. Netanyahu and Putin will discuss the Russian arms sales to Syria, in particular the sale of advanced S-300 anti-aircraft missile systems.

Netanyahu spoke with Putin on the phone earlier this week. During their conversation, Putin invited Netanyahu to Moscow, and the two leaders' bureaus are now in the process of coordinating an exact date for the visit.

Besides the Russian arms sales to Syria, Netanyahu is also interested in discussing the Iranian nuclear issue with Putin.

Earlier on Friday, Russia's foreign minister said Moscow had no new plans to sell an advanced air defense system to the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad, but left open the possibility that it could ship such systems to Damascus under an existing contract.

The Wall Street Journal this week reported that Israel had informed the United States a Russian deal was imminent to sell S-300 missile systems that would significantly boost Syria's ability to stave off outside intervention in its civil war.

Asked by a journalist about the reports on a visit to the Polish capital, Sergei Lavrov said: "Russia is not planning to sell. Russia already sold them a long time ago. It has signed the contracts and is completing deliveries, in line with the agreed contracts, of equipment which is anti-aircraft technology."

The question referred to S-300 systems, but Lavrov in his reply did not specify whether the equipment already being delivered were S-300 complexes or another system. (Haaretz)

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