Putin to visit Israel amid Syria, Iran concerns (JERUSALEM POST) By HERB KEINON, JPOST.COM STAFF 06/13/12)
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Russian President Vladimir Putin is planning to make his first
official visit to Israel since 2005, although the exact date for the
visit has not yet been determined, the Foreign Ministry said Tuesday.
News of Putin´s expected visit came as Russia was the center of
controversy for its continued support of Syrian President Bashar
Assad, despite his brutal crackdown on dissenters. In addition,
Russia has been seen as an impediment to harsher international action
against Iran for its continued pursuit of nuclear technology. Putin
has warned of the dire consequences of a potential Israeli or US
attack on the Islamic Republic´s nuclear facilities.
Foreign Minster Avigdor Liberman met with Putin in Moscow in December
amid reports that Russia had delivered Yaknot cruise missiles to
Syria, despite US and Israeli lobbying against the move.
According to a communiqué put out by Liberman’s office following the
December meeting, he told Putin that Israel and Russia had different
positions on a range of issues, from the diplomatic process with the
Palestinians to current developments in the region, but that he hoped
Israel’s position on matters such as Iran, Hezbollah and Hamas would
get a hearing in Moscow.
Regarding the Palestinian issue, Liberman said Russia’s support for
unilateral Palestinian moves does not bring an agreement closer or
improve relations between Israel and the Palestinians. Israel’s
position is that the type of support Russia has articulated for the
PA’s moves at the UN only increase the Palestinians’ belief that they
can get the world to impose a solution on Israel, thus making it more
difficult to lure them to return to the negotiating table.
With that, Liberman said ties between the countries are “very
positive” 20 years after the renewal of diplomatic relations between
them, and that this was manifest in an ongoing political dialogue, in
economic and cultural ties and in keeping alive the memory of the
Liberman extended an invitation to Putin from Prime Minister Binyamin
Netanyahu, who was last in Moscow in early 2010. Russian Prime
Minister Dmitry Medvedev had planned to visit Israel in January 2011,
but had to suffice with meeting Palestinian Authority officials in
Jericho, where he arrived for a few hours from Jordan, because a
Foreign Ministry work dispute prevented a full state visit to
Jerusalem. (© 1995-2011, The Jerusalem Post 06/13/12)
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