Netanyahu and Putin discuss Syria ceasefire

Netanyahu tells Russian President Israel opposes Syria ceasefire which would leave Iranian-backed militias close to Israeli border.

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Elad Benari,

Netanyahu and Putin
Netanyahu and Putin
Haim Zach/GPO

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Tuesday evening spoke on the phone with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The two discussed a recent ceasefire agreement in Syria between the U.S., Russia, and Jordan, which would leave Iranian-backed militias just three miles from the Israeli border.

The phone call lasted approximately 30 minutes, according to the Prime Minister’s Office.

The Kremlin said that the phone call was held at Netanyahu’s initiative. In addition to the Syria ceasefire, the two also expressed a shared interest in expanding mutually beneficial cooperation, including contacts between special services, it said.

“I spoke this evening with Russian President Vladimir Putin. I reiterated our position and our firm opposition to Iran's military buildup in Syria,” Netanyahu tweeted later on Tuesday evening.

Netanyahu last week signaled that Israel would take military action in Syria when it sees fit as it seeks to ensure Iran-backed forces stay away from its territory.

"I have made it clear to our friends, first of all in Washington and also to our friends in Moscow, that Israel will act in Syria -- including in southern Syria -- according to our understanding and according to our security needs," Netanyahu told members of his Likud party last Monday.

"This is what is happening and this is what will continue to happen."

The phone call between Netanyahu and Putin followed a surprise visit by Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad to Russia, where he met Putin in Sochi.

"Thanks to the Russian army, Syria has been saved as a state. Much has been done to stabilize the situation in Syria," Putin told Assad during that meeting, in comments released Tuesday and quoted by AFP.

"As for our joint work in the fight against terrorism in Syria, this military operation is coming to an end," he added.

Assad, for his part, said he wanted to advance negotiations for a political settlement with the Syrian opposition.

"We don't want to look back and we are ready for dialogue with all those who want to come up with a political settlement," Assad said in translated comments.

On Wednesday, Putin will meet Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani for a trilateral summit which is expected to deal with the situation in Syria.








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