Report: Israel Asked Putin to Prevent Syrian Weapons from Reaching Hizbullah

Posted on: June 26, 2012 at 00:04
Israeli officials asked visiting Russian President Vladimir Putin to exert efforts to stop Syrian biological and chemical weapons from falling into the hands of Hizbullah, a senior Israeli diplomatic source said.

''We asked Putin for Russia to work more actively to preserve stability in Syria, to prevent biological and chemical weapons from falling into the hands of Hizbullah or other terror groups,'' the source told Israeli daily Haaretz.

''Putin said that he is not obligated to Assad, but that Russia and Syria have strategic relations.”

During his first visit to the country since 2005, Putin cautioned on Monday against foreign interference in Syria.

He also said it was ''unacceptable to think of mutual destruction.''

''From the very beginning of the so-called Arab Spring, Russia has been persuading its partners that democratic changes should take place in a civilized manner and without external intervention,'' Putin said after meeting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Putin's strident rhetoric and a flat-out refusal to support sanctions against Moscow's Soviet-era ally Syria have pitted him against the West.

But Israeli president Shimon Peres urged the Russian strongman to play a bigger role in the region and specifically to use his influence with Tehran to dampen what Israel and much of the international community say are Iran's nuclear arms ambitions.

''I ask as a personal request that you make your voice heard against a nuclear Iran, against genocide,'' Peres told Putin after talks.

And Peres warned of ''a real danger that Syrian chemical weapons will reach the hands of Hizbullah and al-Qaida; please act with urgency to stop that unacceptable situation.''

Despite the pressure exerted on him by the Israeli officials, Haaretz said, there didn't seem to have been any agreements reached between the two sides on Iran's nuclear program or Russia's support for the Assad regime.

Source:Agence France PresseNaharnet
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