Israel urges Russia´s Vladimir Putin to get tough on Iran (BBC) British Broadcasting Company) 25 June 2012 Last updated at 21:25 GMT)
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Israel has urged visiting Russian President Vladimir Putin to take a
stronger line on curbing Iran´s nuclear ambitions.
Mr Putin is on his first Middle East tour in seven years, aiming to
bolster Russia´s diplomatic presence.
He said he had discussed Iran and Syria in great detail and
negotiations on both were the only solution.
Mr Putin unveiled a World War II monument in Netanya and on Tuesday
will travel to the West Bank.
Israel and Russia have strong cultural ties, with Israel home to more
than a million immigrants from the former Soviet Union.
But politically relations have often been strained, correspondents
After his meeting with Mr Putin on Monday, Israeli Prime Minister
Benjamin Netanyahu said: "We agree that nuclear weapons in the hands
of Iran pose a grave danger, first for Israel but also for the region
and the whole world."
Calling for all uranium enrichment in Iran to cease, he said: "Two
things need to be done now: we need to bolster the sanctions and
bolster the demands."
Iran says its nuclear programme is entirely peaceful, but Western
countries suspect it trying to develop nuclear weapons.
Mr Netanyahu also said "the killing and horrible suffering of the
Syrian people" must stop.
Mr Putin said the pair had discussed Iran and Syria and that he saw
negotiations as the only solution, adding that it was "unacceptable
to think of mutual destruction".
He added: "From the very beginning of the so-called Arab Spring,
Russia has been persuading its partners that democratic changes
should take place in a civilised manner and without external
Mr Putin had begun his visit by inaugurating a Soviet Red Army
memorial in Netanya to pay tribute to fallen soldiers of World War II.
Later Israeli President Shimon Peres stepped up the pressure on Mr
Putin, making a "personal request that you make your voice heard
against a nuclear Iran" and warning of a "real danger that Syrian
chemical weapons will reach the hands of Hezbollah and al-Qaeda".
Mr Peres said: "I am confident that Russia, which defeated fascism,
will not allow today´s threats to continue. Not the Iranian threat.
Not the bloodshed in Syria."
Mr Putin said Russia had a "national interest" in a peaceful Israel.
On Tuesday, Mr Putin will meet Palestinian Authority President
Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank town of Bethlehem.
Mr Netanyahu asked Mr Putin to deliver a message to Mr Abbas urging
the Palestinian leader to resume peace talks stalled since 2010.
But BBC West Bank correspondent Jon Donnison says such an outcome is
unlikely as Mr Abbas is demanding that Israel halt its expansion of
Jewish settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
Mr Putin will later head to Jordan, where he will meet King Abdullah.
(© BBC MMXII 06/25/12)
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