title: 'Syria dominates EU Russian talks' published: true publish_date: '31-08-2016 14:56' taxonomy: category:

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    Russian President Vladimir Putin said Tuesday that Moscow had not yet delivered its sophisticated S-300 missiles to the Syrian regime for fear this would upset the delicate balance of power in the volatile region and warned that any foreign military intervention in the Syria crisis was "doomed to failure". A contract for deliveries of S-300 systems to Syria has not yet been implemented, the Russian President told a news conference after the Russia-EU summit. "S-300 is one of the world’s best anti-aircraft missile systems. It is a very serious weapon. We do not want to upset the balance of forces in the region. The contract was signed several years ago. It has not been implemented as of yet,” Putin said "We once again underscored that any attempts to influence the situation through force and direct military intervention are doomed to failure," Putin told reporters at the joint press conference with EU leaders in Ekaterinburg in the Ural federal region. Russian President Vladimir Putin attempted to build on his rapport with the visiting duo of European Council President Herman Van Rompuy and European Commission head Jose Manuel Barroso when he hosted a dinner on Monday ahead of the full day of talks. Visas, Gazprom Moscow is also hoping to eventually secure visa-free travel to Europe and win a release for its natural gas giant Gazprom from new rules that forbid it from owning pipelines and other facilities in EU states. "It is obvious that our energy dialogue may only advance successfully if we take our mutual interests into account,"Putin told his EU partners at the start of Tuesday's session. "Another problem requiring our full attention is the preparation of a new framework Russia-EU agreement," he added in reference to talks that have dragged on for years. "Right now, both sides are interested in finishing this job as soon as possible." The framework agreement - the basis of Russian-EU cooperation in all areas of trade - has not been updated since the two sides first established relations after the Soviet Union's collapse. Divisions over Syria Yet no other issue has been as divisive as the European Union's strong backing of the Syrian opposition and Putin's continued support for a regime with which Moscow has been allied since the Soviet era. "The subject of Syria will be one of the priority areas at the talks," Moscow's EU envoy Vladimir Chizhov said. Russia's Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu suggested that the EU's decision to lift its embargo on arming Syria's rebels untied Moscow's hands to supply weapons to Assad which had been banned by international treaties. Analysts believe Moscow and Brussels may try to smooth out the row by issuing a statement of support for a proposed peace conference on the crisis that is meant to get Assad's camp and the opposition involved in direct talks for the first time. "The EU is convinced that there is no alternative to a political solution to the crisis," Van Rompuy said at the start of Tuesday's session. The European Union intends "to strengthen its cooperation with Russia on the Syria issue," he stressed. More shelling has killed a civilian near the Russian embassy in Damascus (Voice of Russia, AFP) Talking Point: Russian/US peace talks for Syria frustrated by EU Talking Point by Peter Lavelle: Syria isthe 'red line'

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