MOSCOW - Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin today at the Kremlin, for the third time since taking office. Among the matters for discussion between the two, will be the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and Iran's nuclear arms program.
Sources close to the Sharon delegation on the trip described the expected talks as routine and were not forecasting any particular problems.
Sharon will raise the necessity of halting Iran's nuclear program and of ensuring that
Tehran's last declaration on agreeing to international inspectors to visit its nuclear installations will be followed through. The head of Iran's national security council, Hassan Rowhani, is scheduled to arrive in Moscow for a visit just days after Sharon's departure.
Russian companies are involved in the installation of nuclear power stations in Iran, near the city of Bushar. Moscow recently announced that the project had been delayed.
Sharon will tell Putin that he intends to renew negotiating with the Palestinians, and he will try to convince the president not to submit a resolution to the UN Security Council that would adopt the road map. Sources close to the prime minister said if the UN's adopted the road map it would be much harder to progress with the peace talks, as it would alleviate the Palestinians of their obligations in fighting terror.
The sources expressed concern over Putin's comments a few weeks ago when he implied criticism of Israel's reactions to Palestinian terror attacks. Sharon is expected to tell Putin that there is no differentiating terror.
Sharon started his visit to Russia yesterday with a look-in on a dairy farm just outside the capital. The prime minister watched a calf being born, and visited a Russian milking center.
Last night, Sharon met with parents of youngsters who have immigrated to Israel as part of organized programs such as Na'aleh for high school students, and Selah for university students, and also parents of those serving in the IDF.
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