Netanyahu visits Putin in bid to sway Russia on Syria

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday to warn Moscow against sending arms to Syria as alarm grows over the spiralling death toll in the conflict.

In concluding remarks following talks at the Russian strongman's Black Sea residence in Sochi, the two leaders gave little away about their closed-door meeting.

But Putin's official spokesman Dmitry Peskov confirmed that Israel had raised the issue and that Russia defended the arms deliveries.

"The issue was raised. The Russian Federation presented its arguments, which are well known," Russia's Interfax news agency quoted Peskov as saying.

Russia's position "was heard," Peskov added, without providing further details except to say that the meeting went "well".

Israel wants Russia to halt supplies of the formidable S-300 missiles that would severely complicate any future air attacks against the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Netanyahu himself did not mention the sensitive weapons issue in public but Putin warned against any destabilising moves in the Middle East, days after Israeli forces launched air strikes against regime targets in Syria.

"In this crucial period, it is especially important to avoid any moves that can shake the situation," Putin said in televised remarks.

Netanyahu meanwhile stressed that it was his country's task to defend its citizens.

The Israeli prime minister added: "Together we are trying to find ways to strengthen stability and security. It's important both for you and us."

The agenda for Tuesday's meeting had some parallels to a trip Netanyahu made to Moscow in September 2009 for Kremlin talks deemed so sensitive that the visit was kept secret at the time.

According to Israeli media, Netanyahu is believed on that trip to have raised fears about a Russian plan to deliver S-300s to Iran that Moscow decided in the end not to fulfil.

Viktor Kremenyuk, deputy director of the USA and Canada Institute, suggested that Netanyahu would warn Putin during the current visit that his airforce would target the S-300s should the Kremlin decide to deliver the arms to Syria.

"Indirectly, he is letting him know that Israel would destroy the S-300s when they get delivered and start being assembled," he told AFP ahead of the meeting.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said last week that Moscow was "completing" supplies of equipment to Syria agreed under previous contracts.

According to the Wall Street Journal, citing an Israeli intelligence report, the 2010 contract with Syria includes six launchers and 144 missiles, each with a range of 125 miles (200 kilometres).

Netanyahu was just the latest world leader to beat a path to Putin's door for talks on Syria in recent days, after US Secretary of State John Kerry and British Prime Minister David Cameron met him last week.

In the wake of the talks with Netanyahu at Putin's vacation residence in the southern resort of Sochi, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is also due meet Putin in Russia on Friday.

Cameron said on Monday after talks with US President Barack Obama that London and Moscow had found "common ground" on the crisis.

Obama was more cautious however, saying there were "lingering suspicions between Russia and other members of the G8 and or the West".

Particular hope has focused on a Russian-American agreement to work towards convening a peace conference on Syria.

The conference is likely to be held in early June, said a State Department spokeswoman on Monday.

Jordan's foreign ministry said on Tuesday Amman would host a meeting of the largely anti-Assad "Friends of Syria" group of Western and Arab states that is likely to discuss the conference.

Upping the stakes, Kerry said in Sweden that Syria's opposition would receive additional assistance if Assad refused to attend the proposed peace conference in person.

The latest push to try to find an end to the slaughter in Syria comes as the war is taking a turn for the worse amid reports that the Assad regime is starting to win back territory.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said earlier Tuesday that at least 94,000 people had now been killed in more than two years conflict, revising up a previous toll.

A gruesome video also surfaced in which a Syrian rebel fighter is shown cutting out the heart of a regime soldier.

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • SE Asia Stocks-Mixed; Thai index slips ahead of economic data

    BANGKOK, May 22 (Reuters) - Most Southeast Asian stock markets were flat to weaker on Friday, with the Malaysia index hitting a more than two-month low and Philippines touching an over one-week low on ... …

  • China says U.S. actions in S.China Sea "irresponsible, dangerous"
    China says U.S. actions in S.China Sea "irresponsible, dangerous"

    By Sui-Lee Wee BEIJING (Reuters) - China said on Friday it was "strongly dissatisfied" after a U.S. military plane flew over part of the South China Sea near where China is building artificial islands, and called on the United States to stop such action or risk causing an accident. The Chinese navy issued eight warnings to the U.S. P8-A Poseidon, the U.S. military's most advanced surveillance aircraft, when it conducted the overflights on Wednesday, according to CNN, which had a team on board …

  • 2015 Hyundai Lateral Drift goes to Philippine Arena
    2015 Hyundai Lateral Drift goes to Philippine Arena

    The smell of burnt rubber and screeching tires are some of the highlights that will be seen at the most adrenaline-pumped drifting event of the year—the 2015 Hyundai Lateral Drift Championship series.   Held at the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan, the event will be the biggest venue in the drifting competition. This is the […] The post 2015 Hyundai Lateral Drift goes to Philippine Arena appeared first on Carmudi Philippines. …

  • The Richest Senators In The Philippines
    The Richest Senators In The Philippines

    The 2014 Statement of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth for politicians and public servants are now available for anyone to … The post The Richest Senators In The Philippines appeared first on iMoney.ph. …

  • PHILIPPINES PRESS-AirAsia Philippines seeks $500 mln valuation for IPO - Inquirer

    The Philippine unit of Malaysian budget carrier AirAsia Berhad is seeking a valuation of at least $500 million for its initial public offering set within the next two years, the Philippine Daily Inquirer ... …

  • Consultant, facing joblessness, claims P5.9-M lotto pot
    Consultant, facing joblessness, claims P5.9-M lotto pot

    A 39-year-old information technology consultant, whose job contract will expire this month, has claimed his share of the 6/45 Mega Lotto’s P17.8-million jackpot in its May 13 draw, the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) announced yesterday. “I could not sleep for the past several days, thinking about where I could get the money to pay my children’s tuition,” the winner told PCSO general manager Jose Ferdinand Rojas II when he received a check for P5.9 million at the PCSO’s central …

  • Cager’s daughter: I will never drive again
    Cager’s daughter: I will never drive again

    Kim Asaytono vowed never to get behind the wheel again after she hit 14 people on Tuesday night and killed one of them. Even if she gets out of jail one day, the 22-year-old daughter of former Philippine Basketball Association player Nelson Asaytono said she no longer wants to drive. Maybe, I will still ride a car but I will never drive again,” she told The STAR in an interview in her jail cell at the Manila Police District headquarters. …

  • Disaster center to rise in Clark
    Disaster center to rise in Clark

    The private sector is set to build a disaster operations center near Clark international airport in Pampanga to strengthen the country’s preparedness against natural calamities. In his closing remarks during a two-day Earthquake Resilience Conference, businessman Manuel V. Pangilinan said yesterday the Philippine Disaster Recovery Foundation (PDRF) would build the center that would serve as base for immediate response to a disaster. Pangilinan, co-chair of the PDRF, said the disaster …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options