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Putin, Netanyahu meet to discuss Syria

MOSCOW -- Russian President Vladimir Putin met Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu yesterday for talks that focused on the situation in Syria, amid concerns that Moscow could soon provide Damascus with advanced missiles.

Israeli officials have asked Russia to stop what they say is an imminent delivery of Russian S-300 air defense systems to Syria.

However, neither leader mentioned the missiles in their brief opening remarks and concluding statements after the talks. They took no questions from reporters. Their refusal to mention the missile issue in public and their friendly tone may reflect an understanding reached in talks that lasted several hours.

Putin wrapped the meeting by saying Russia and Israel share concern about the situation in Syria. He said he and Netanyahu believe the conflict in Syria is fraught with negative consequences for the entire region, adding they agreed to follow the situation through personal contacts and links between Russian and Israeli special services.

Putin hailed what he described as close ties between the countries, and Netanyahu responded in kind and invited Putin to make another trip to Israel. Netanyahu added that the volatile situation in the Middle East requires action to improve security.

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