Russia envoy on Syria secretly visits Israel

Officials told Alexander Lavrentiev in no uncertain terms any int'l deal on Syria would need to spell end to attacks from there on Israel.

Cynthia Blank,

Vladimir Putin
Vladimir Putin
Reuters

Russia's special envoy on Syria secretly visited Israel last week, Haaretz reports Sunday, where he met with senior Israeli officials to discuss international efforts to end the Syrian civil war. 

The visit came only days after the UN Security Council passed a resolution launching negotiations between Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime and opposition leaders. 

In a phone call between Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday, Putin tried to allay Israel's fears that such negotiations would strengthen Iran and Hezbollah by telling Netanyahu there was no alternative to UN-backed talks. 

Haaretz added it was unclear if Russian envoy Alexander Lavrentiev's upcoming visit to Israel was discussed during the call. 

Lavrentiev arrived in Israel Thursday in the midst of a five-capital tour across the Middle East. His delegation, which included Russian Foreign Ministry officials and intelligence representatives, was hosted by National Security Adviser Yossi Cohen in Jerusalem. 

According to a senior official, Jerusalem presented a list of key points to the Russians, primarily its interest in maintaining free reign in foiling terror attacks from Syria as well as preventing advanced weaponry from being transferred to Hezbollah in Lebanon from Syria. 

Israeli officials also emphasized that any future agreement determined by world powers on Syria would need to ensure the country stops using its territory as a launch pad for direct or indirect attacks on the Jewish state. 

Both the Foreign Ministry and the Prime Minister's Office remained mum regarding the visit, however, declining to answer questions from Haaretz or say if Netanyahu had met with Lavrentiev. 




top