Olmert leaves for Moscow

Monday, October 16, 2006 |  by Staff Writer
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert will leave Tuesday for a two day official visit to Russia where he will meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

In addition Olmert will meet with leaders of the local Jewish community and will visit two synagogues.

Olmert’s talks with Putin in the Kremlin will cover several topics. They will discuss the Iranian nuclear threat and the latest developments surrounding the North Korean nuclear ambitions, including the issue of the latest nuclear test they conducted a week ago and the economic and military sanctions that were imposed on them by the United Nations.

Another burning issue which has been a huge point of contention between Israel and Russia is the issue of Russian weaponry in the hands of Hizballah. During the war in Lebanon, Israel had revealed that most of the weapons used against Israel Defense Forces, including high-tech and state-of-the-art anti-tank missiles and other military equipment, was manufactured by Russia and delivered into Lebanon through Syria.

At first these charges by Israel were denied by the Kremlin, but a special Israeli delegation which arrived in Moscow during the war with specific intelligence, including serial numbers of missiles and other weaponry, revealed the magnitude of the problem. In reaction, Russia halted delivery of some anti-tank missiles to Syria, after it was revealed that the Syrians had indeed given them to Hizballah for their fight against IDF forces in Lebanon.

Olmert will also ask President Putin to refrain from modernizing the Syrian army and strengthening it because that would constitute a threat to Israel.

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