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Putin Defends Syria, Iran Ties During First Visit to Israel

  • VOA News

Russian President Vladimir Putin has defended his country's military and technology deals with Syria and Iran during his first visit to Israel. In Jerusalem on Thursday, Mr. Putin said Russia's deal to supply nuclear fuel to Iran does not threaten Israel, but Tehran should do more to assure the world that it is not building nuclear weapons. The Russian president also said Moscow's deal to sell short-range, anti-aircraft missiles to Syria poses no threat to Israeli territory. Israel argues the missiles could end up in the hands of militants along its border. After Mr. Putin's meeting with Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov said the president's offer to host a Middle East peace conference was misunderstood. Mr. Lavrov said Mr. Putin had, in fact, proposed a conference of regional experts -- not an international summit.
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