Putin on rare trip to Israel

Putin on rare trip to Israel

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday cautioned against foreign interference in Syria during a rare visit to Israel aimed at burnishing Kremlin’s credentials as a key Middle East power broker.

“From the very beginning of the so-called Arab Spring, Russia has been persuading its partners that democratic changes should take place in a civilised manner and without external intervention,” Putin said after meeting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during his first visit to the country since 2005.

Analysts see Putin’s trip to Israel followed by a visit to the West Bank and Jordan as a diplomatic mission as world powers scramble for a solution to stop the bloodshed in Syria and resolve Iran’s nuke crisis.

Russia is pushing for an international Syria conference and has already discussed the plan with Jordan as well as the European Union, Iran and Iraq. 

Putin’s strident rhetoric and a flat-out refusal to support sanctions against Moscow’s Soviet-era ally Syria has pitted him against the West, but the Russian strongman found a grateful audience in Israel.

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