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Putin in Israel for dedication, meetings

JTA

June 25, 2012 | 4:17 pm

Russian President Vladimir Putin in Jerusalem on June 25. Photo by REUTERS/Lior Mizrahi

Russian President Vladimir Putin in Jerusalem on June 25. Photo by REUTERS/Lior Mizrahi

Russian President Vladimir Putin, in meetings with Israeli leaders, discussed Iran, Syria and the stalled peace talks with the Palestinians.

Putin on June 25 also attended the dedication of a memorial in the coastal town of Netanya to the Red Army’s victory over Nazi Germany.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, following his meeting with Putin, said,  “We agree that Iran’s continued pursuit of nuclear weapons is a grave threat first and foremost to Israel, but also to the region and to the world.” He also said that “a way to end the killing and the terrible suffering of the citizens of Syria must be found, and peace, security and regional stability must be pursued as far as is possible during these turbulent times.”

Russia, a longtime ally of Syria, has backed the government of Bashar Assad against international action to halt the violent crackdown on the uprising in the Arab country that has seen thousands killed.

On the stalled peace process with the Palestinians, Netanyahu said, “The key to peace is complex, but in the end it is very simple: Either President [Mahmoud] Abbas must come here or I must go to him, and I am willing for either of these possibilities to occur. However, we must begin to talk.”

Netanyahu said he hoped Putin would convey the message to the Palestinian Authority president when speaking with Abbas in Bethlehem the following day.

“We urge all sides to renew negotiations; this is the only way to resolve the problem,” Putin responded.

Putin called his visit to Israel “a solid basis for building dialogue and partnership.

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