September 10, 2009

EVEN THE RUSSIANS CAN'T THINK OF ANY OTHER REASON TO VISIT RUSSIA:

Kremlin official confirms PM's trip (HERB KEINON, 9/10/09, JPOST)

A senior Kremlin official confirmed Wednesday to the Russian paper Kommersant that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu did indeed make a clandestine trip to Russia on Monday.

Commenting on the visit, the official said that "this kind of development could only be related to new and threatening information on Iran's nuclear program."

The Russian newspaper quoted experts speculating that such a trip would only be justified under extraordinary circumstances, "for example, in the case of Israel planning to attack Iran."


MORE:
Israel admits Binyamin Netanyahu's secret trip to Moscow (Sheera Frenkel, , 9/10/09, Times of London)


The Russian Government this week denied reports that the ship had been transporting an illegal shipment of S-300 surface-to-air missiles destined for Iran or Syria.

Reports suggested that the shipment had been aborted after it came to the attention of Mossad, the Israeli secret service.

Israeli security officials have been reluctant to speak about the incident, although several admitted to The Times that the full story had yet to be told.

“What exactly happened on that ship is still unknown, and everyone, from Moscow to Jerusalem is working hard to keep it a secret," said one diplomatic official in Israel.

"Unfortunately, they are tripping over themselves and being caught in the very web they are spinning. At this point, we have more denials over this story than actually facts."

Mr Netanyahu’s trip to Moscow appears to have been kept a secret even from some members of his own staff. "He made great efforts to conceal the trip from the public, as both he and the Russians agreed that it should be kept quiet,” one official said.

Nor is it clear whom he met. Russian authorities said that the Israeli premier had met neither his counterpart, Vladimir Putin, nor President Medvedev, although they did not explicitly deny the trip itself.

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 10, 2009 5:57 AM
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