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    Israel's Olmert in Russia for talks

    AFP
    07.10.2008 - 14:59 | Son Güncelleme: 07.10.2008 - 14:59

    Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was in Moscow on Tuesday for talks expected to touch on the Middle East peace process, the Iran nuclear crisis and possible Russian weapons sales to Syria.

    Olmert, who stepped down on September 21 but remains at the helm of a transitional government, was due to hold talks with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev at 1000 GMT, the Kremlin said.

     

    The Kremlin said talks would focus on bilateral trade and the Middle East peace process. Media reports suggested talks would also center on Iran and Syria.

     

    Both Israel -- widely believed to be the only nuclear armed state in the Middle East -- and its staunch ally the United States accuse Iran of trying to develop atomic weapons, charges Tehran denies.

     

    Israeli officials have also expressed concern at reports that Russia was willing to sell weapons to Syria, a long-time foe of the Jewish state.

     

    Russia’s arms-export monopoly Rosoboronexport on Monday denied Israeli claims that it plans to deliver S-300 surface-to-air missiles to Iran or Syria, the Interfax news agency reported.

     

    Olmert’s defense minister, Ehud Barak, on Sunday urged Russia not to upset the strategic balance in the Middle East with arms sales to Muslim countries.

     

    During a telephone conversation last month, Olmert told Medvedev it would be a waste for Syria to spend billions of dollars on buying weapons that Israel would eventually destroy, Israeli media reported.

     

    Photo: Reuters

     

     

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