Report: Netanyahu to meet with Putin next week

May 11, 2013 at 10:15 AM

MOSCOW, May 11 (UPI) -- Israel's prime minister will visit Russia next week to urge an end to arms shipments to the Syrian military, a source told Russia's RIA Novosti news agency.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's office had yet to confirm the meeting with President Vladimir Putin; however, Putin's spokesman confirmed the two leaders had agreed to meet and were working on a date.

Diplomatic sources in Jerusalem told RIA Novosti Netanyahu and Putin would get together in the Olympic city of Sochi.

The primary topic of discussion will be Russia's support of the beleaguered government of Syrian President Bashar Assad, a longtime Russian ally whose regime is locked in a bloody stalemate with rebel forces. Russia is a major supplier of Assad's military equipment.

Israel has been particularly interested in halting the sale of S-300 anti-aircraft missiles to Syria. Israel has been presumed to have carried out a series of recent airstrikes against Syrian arms depots.

Russia has maintained it is honoring existing contracts for arms sales for defensive purposes.

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