Judo match to bring Putin, Cameron together for talks at Olympics


Russia's Prime Minister Vladimir Putin takes part in a judo training session at the 'Moscow' sports complex in St. Petersburg, on December 22, 2010.


Alexey Druzhinin

A judo match is an appropriate setting for the Russian President to discuss his nation's strong-armed Syria policy with British Prime Minister David Cameron, and the two are expected to go head-to-head on the crisis while watching the Olympic event next week, the Associated Press reported

The news also confirms that the Russian leader -- himself a judo competitor -- will attend London's Summer Games, which open on Friday. 

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Cameron is likely to use the opportunity to press Putin on Syria, where an uprising against the country's hardline president has devolved into a humanitarian crisis thanks to 16 months of ongoing conflict between rebels and Syrian security forces. The violence has so far taken some 17,000 lives. 

Repeated efforts by the United Nations' Security Council to unite behind a plan to end the crisis have failed, thanks mostly to resistance from Syria ally Russia -- a veto-wielding member of the powerful group -- as well as China.  

Britain last week called a recent Russian UN resolution veto on the issue "inexcusable and indefensible," according to AP.

Also today, Russia's Olympics committee president Alexander Zhukov has reportedly lashed out at Olympic organizers for banning Alexander Lukashenko, the authoritarian president of Belarus -- a country often described as Europe's last dictatorship. 

Zhukov tweeted: "The Olympics organizing committee in London did not give Belarus President A. Lukashenko accreditation. Sport is outside of politics?" He followed up with: "And what about Olympic values and traditions? Every schoolchild knows that in Greece a truce was agreed during the Games."

The Guardian confirmed the tweets with Zhukov's press secretary.

The European Union placed a travel ban on Lukashenko in response to his violent crackdown on protests brought on by his controversial 2010 election.

A UK government official told The Guardian the restriction will "remain operational for the Olympics."