Putin Discusses Middle East Situation with Assad
Russian President Vladimir Putin discussed the Middle East situation in a phone call to his Syrian counterpart Bashar Assad Sunday, the official SANA news agency reported.
They also discussed bilateral relations, the agency said, but gave no details.
Putin's call came as Israel threatened Syria with reprisals in the wake of clashes between the Israeli army and the Syrian-backed Lebanese Shiite Muslim Hizbollah group on the Lebanese-Israeli border.
Russia and Syria enjoy good relations. Damascus was Moscow's main ally in the region before the break up of the Soviet Union.
A Russian diplomatic source told the Russian Interfax news agency Sunday that Moscow was concerned about the upsurge of violence in the region.
"An escalation of tensions may have a negative impact on the Middle East peace process," the official said.
Russia was urging both sides "to show restraint" the official said, adding that Moscow believed force could not resolve differences.
Russia is joint co-sponsor of the Arab-Israeli peace process with the United States – MOSCOW (AFP)
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