Putin and Sharon clash over missile sale to Syria

Thursday, April 28, 2005 | 
Russian President Vladimir Putin has become the first Kremlin leader to visit Israel, but it is not smooth sailing. The "historic" visit has been overshadowed by Putin’s plan to sell anti-aircraft missiles to Syria. Prime Minister Ariel Sharon protested, saying the weapons could fall into the hands of Syrian-backed terrorist groups. But Putin told a news conference here in Jerusalem that the missiles do not pose a threat to Israel and the sale will go ahead. "Israel has no problem here,” Putin said. "We are taking the opinions and concerns of our partners into consideration, and we are not changing the balance of power in the region."

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