image Photo: GPO, Kobi Gideon

Netanyahu-Putin Meeting in Russia Focuses on Syria and Iran

Israeli Prime and Defense Minister Benjamin Netanyahu travelled to the Russian resort city of Sochi this morning, where he met with Russian President Vladimir Putin. According to a statement released by the Prime Minister’s office, the two leaders discussed “regional issues,” including the situation Syria, with an emphasis on tightening the “coordination mechanism” between the Russian and Israeli militaries. According to the Israel leader: “This is a very important journey. At this time, we are operating in several arenas, basically a 360-degree scale to ensure Israel’s security in the face of attempted attacks by Iran and its proxies, and we are working against them. The Syrian arena is a major arena, and from time to time you hear about it. It is important for us to continue to maintain the IDF’s and Air Force’s freedom of action against Iranian targets, Hezbollah targets and other terrorist targets. And the purpose of this trip is to continue the important coordination, that prevents clashes between us and the Russian forces, and of course to continue to advance the common goal we have agreed on – which has not yet been achieved and is far from being achieved – and that is the expulsion of Iran from Syria. And that’s the purpose for which I’m going (to Russia). ”

An informed Israeli source told TV7 that Iranian nuclear activities also topped the two leaders’ agenda. Israel’s National Security Advisor Meir Ben-Shabbat Director of Military Intelligence, Major-General Tamir Heiman and Operations Directorate Commander, Major General Aharon Haliva accompanied the Premier on his state visit. After talks with the President Putin, Prime Minister Netanyahu held a separate meeting with Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu.

It is important to note that on the eve of Netanyahu’s arrival, Moscow warned Jerusalem that it would seriously exacerbate regional tensions if Israeli sovereignty was extended over the Jordan Valley, which is one of the three districts of the West Bank. The Russian Foreign Ministry also stressed that such a move would undermine hopes of reaching peace between Israel and its Arab neighbors.