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Putin, Netanyahu Hold Syria-Focused Talks

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says Israel and Russia can work together to make the Middle East more stabile and secure.

Mr. Netanyahu's comments came Tuesday in Sochi as Russian President Vladimir Putin welcomed him for talks focused on the situation in Syria.

Israel and Western powers are concerned about potential Russian sales of advanced anti-aircraft weapons to Syria, which would complicate any possible airstrikes against President Bashar al-Assad's forces.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said last week his government is completing arms sales to Syria under existing contracts, but did not say if advanced S-300 missile batteries were included.

The talks come as efforts continue to arrange an international peace conference on Syria, which Russia and the United States proposed last week.



President Putin has discussed with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and British Prime Minister David Cameron the plan for bringing together delegates from the Syrian government and rebels opposed to Mr. Assad. It is not clear if either side would take part.

Syria's state-run SANA news agency carried comments Tuesday from Information Minister Omran al-Zoubi saying the government needs more details before making a decision. He also said Syria will not take part in any dialogue that infringes on its sovereignty.

The situation in Syria will remain a prominent focus of talks later in the week, as United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon travels to meet with Russian officials.

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