Israeli security, Mideast peace top issues in next Putin meeting

Trump declares meeting with Putin a success, vows to focus on Israeli security, terror, Mideast peace, nuclear proliferation at follow-up.

David Rosenberg ,

Donald Trump
Donald Trump

President Donald Trump hinted on Thursday at plans for a second meeting with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, saying that he planned to work with Putin towards the implementation of key issues discussed earlier this week in Helsinki, Finland, including Israeli security concerns, nuclear proliferation, and Middle East peace.

On Monday, President Trump met with Putin in Helsinki for a two-hour closed-door meeting.

While the details of the one-on-one conversation have not been disclosed, both Putin and Trump noted that Israeli security concerns regarding the presence of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard forces in Syria were one of the topics of discussion.

"We came to a lot of good conclusions. A really good conclusion for Israel, something very strong,” President Trump told Fox News.

Putin, Trump added, is a “believer” in the Jewish state and of its Prime Minister, Binyamin Netanyahu.

“He's a believer in Israel he's a fan of Bibi [Netanyahu]. He's really helping him a lot and will help him a lot, which is good for all of us."

But President Trump’s comments at a press briefing in Helsinki drew criticism from pundits, Democrats, and even some senior Republican lawmakers, who charged the president had ignored key US issues including the 2014 Russian takeover of the Crimea from the Ukraine, and reports from US intelligence agencies that Russian officials attempted to interfere in the 2016 US presidential election.

On Thursday, President Trump hit back at critics via Twitter, hailing the Helsinki summit with Putin a “great success” and teasing plans for a second meeting to “start implementing” issues discussed in Finland.

Among the issues the president highlighted were Israel’s security, Middle East peace, counter-terror efforts, and nuclear proliferation.

“The Summit with Russia was a great success, except with the real enemy of the people, the Fake News Media,” Trump wrote Thursday. “I look forward to our second meeting so that we can start implementing some of the many things discussed, including stopping terrorism, security for Israel, nuclear proliferation, cyber attacks, trade, Ukraine, Middle East peace, North Korea and more. There are many answers, some easy and some hard, to these problems...but they can ALL be solved!”

Key among Israel’s security concerns is the presence of Iranian and Iran-linked terror groups including Hezbollah in Syrian territory, something the Israeli government has called a ‘red-line’ for the Jewish state.

While Russia has in the past has backed the call to withdraw Iranian forces from the Israeli frontier, Israel has insisted on the total removal of Iranian forces from Syria, noting the missile and drone capabilities of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard forces in Syria.