Sharon in Moscow; aims at blocking Russian-Syrian missiles deal
Israel's Prime Minister Ariel Sharon arrived in Moscow Sunday night for two days of talks with the Russian leadership expected to be dominated by the Iraqi crisis and Russian nuclear and technology transfers to Iran.
A senior official in Sharon's entourage told The Jerusalem Post daily he would not initiate discussion on the impending US attack on Iraq because this is not Israel's portfolio. But, he added, the issue would surely arise.
The official denied that Sharon would lobby President Vladimir Putin to support the tough US-backed UN Security Council resolution being formulated on Iraq, saying that this is "not Israel's role."
Sharon is expected to share intelligence information with the Russians documenting Iraq's non-conventional weapons plans. Mossad chief, Efraim Halevy, who is slated to end his tenure at the end of October went with Sharon to Moscow.
The senior official said among the other issues to be discussed would be the continuing Palestinian "terrorism," the tense situation in the south Lebanon, and reported plans of a deal for Russia to sell SA-18 anti-aircraft missiles to Syria. Israel is keen on thwarting this deal, because it is concerned the missiles could make their way to Hizbullah.
Sharon will also ask Putin to use his influence on Syria to "restrain" Hizbullah, Haaretz reported. Also on the agenda in terms of the Lebanese government is Israel's concern about projects diverting water from the Wazzani River.
Sharon is to meet Putin in the Kremlin Monday, followed by talks with Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov in the afternoon. (Albawaba.com)
© 2002 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)