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Russians Living In Iran Take Part In Presidential Elections

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Russia’s ambassador to Israel, Anatoly Viktorov, said Friday that Moscow and Israel had discussed the border region and had “reached an understanding on how it will look” after the rebels’ defeat. He said the agreement specified that “certain units will abandon the territory,” an apparent reference to Iranian paramilitaries.

In the run-up to the summit, Mr. Putin and his diplomats met the leaders of Israel, the Palestinian Authority and Qatar; senior diplomats from Oman and Jordan; and two close advisers to the Iranian supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

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But it was unclear what assurances Mr. Putin could have offered Mr. Trump. Russian Middle East experts said Moscow’s leverage in the messy Syrian civil war was limited despite its efforts to position itself as a broker.

Russian officials also described a proposal by Mr. Putin to hold a referendum on the future of Donbas in eastern Ukraine, a coal mining and steel-smelting region that has been gripped by four years of war between Russian-backed separatists and the Ukrainian government.

The Ukrainians say any such vote would be manipulated and meaningless as long as Russian troops and Russian-backed paramilitaries control the territory. An election in the war zone would also have to address a thorny issue of voting rights for refugees and internally displaced people.

Mr. Putin described the referendum proposal on Thursday to a gathering of Russian diplomats that was closed to the media, but participants soon confirmed his comments to Bloomberg, which first reported the offer.

While American officials were silent about the proposal until Friday, there seemed to be little effort to keep it under wraps in Moscow.


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Source : https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/21/world/europe/butina-russia-pompeo.html

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