Putin turns down Israeli criticism over Iran, Syria arms deal
Russian President Vladimir Putin rebuffed Israeli criticism Thursday, saying his country's planned sale of anti-aircraft missiles to Syria and supply of nuclear components to Iran does not threaten Israel's security.
Putin spoke on the second day of his visit to Israel, where he met with Israeli Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon.
Addressing Israeli fears that he's affecting the region's balance of power, Putin called on Iran to do more to show the world that it's not trying to build a nuclear weapon.
The visit was shadowed by disagreements with Israel over Russia's aid to Damascus and Tehran. On his part, Putin on Thursday defended the moves in talks with Israeli President Moshe Katsav, saying that Russia was sensitive to Israel's security concerns. "Regarding Iran, we are working to make sure their nuclear ability is used for peaceful means."
Regarding Syria, he said "The missiles we are providing to Syria are for defensive uses and short-range anti-aircraft missiles that cannot reach Israeli territory."