Israeli president to meet Putin in unscheduled March visit to Russia

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin is to make a previously unannounced visit to Russia in March for talks with President Vladimir Putin, Rivlin's office said Thursday.

The visit was announced two days after the brokering of a Russian-US deal on a partial ceasefire in Syria, and is likely to address Israeli concerns over the growing influence of Iran and its Lebanese ally Hezbollah in Syria.

"Due to regional developments which have occurred in the Middle East and the need for a meeting between the two presidents in Moscow, President Rivlin has been forced to postpone his planned visit to Australia which will be rearranged for a later date," said a statement from Rivlin's office.

The decision was made in cooperation with the relevant officials in the Foreign Ministry and Prime Minister's Office, it noted.

In Israel, the duties of the president are largely ceremonial, but at times presidents have in the past stepped beyond their traditional role.

An alternative date for the Australia visit would be set "as soon as possible."

Last update: Thu, 25/02/2016 - 16:59

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