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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Primakov Delivers Message in Damascus

DAMASCUS, Syria -- Former Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov held talks Tuesday with Syria's leader and delivered a message from President Vladimir Putin, Syrian state news agency SANA said Tuesday.

Primakov and President Bashar Assad discussed the Middle East and the upcoming U.S.-hosted peace conference on the Israeli-Palestinian peace process to be held by year's end in Annapolis, Maryland.

Syria, which is among the countries invited, has said it would attend only if the conference agenda included the return of the Golan Heights.

Israel says the conference should focus on Israeli-Palestinian relations and not Israel's conflict with Syria.

The visit also comes two weeks after Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert visited Russia and held talks with Putin. Middle Eastern media have said Olmert's visit was aimed at convincing Moscow not to sell Syria advanced anti-aircraft defense systems.