Russia concerned over sovereignty in Jordan Valley

Ahead of Netanyahu's visit, Russia warns that plan to annex Jordan Valley could escalate tensions.

Ido Ben Porat ,

Putin and Netanyahu
Putin and Netanyahu
Haim Zach/GPO

Russia warned on Wednesday that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's pledge to annex the Jordan Valley could escalate tensions, AFP reports.

The Russian foreign ministry said it was concerned over the Israeli leadership's plan, saying its implementation could lead to a "sharp escalation of tensions in the region (and) undermine hopes for the establishment of long-awaited peace between Israel and its Arab neighbors".

Moscow pointed out that Netanyahu's pre-election pledge drew a "sharp negative reaction" in the Arab world and reiterated its call for direct talks between Israel and Palestinian Arabs.

Netanyahu on Tuesday evening said that, if re-elected, he would apply sovereignty over the Jordan Valley and Dead Sea area.

The announcement was criticized by the European Union (EU), which warned that annexation would “undermine chances for peace in the region.”

Netanyahu was also condemned by Arab and Muslim countries, which said that Netanyahu’s announcement “constitutes a dangerous development and a new Israeli aggression.”

The Russian statement comes a day before Netanyahu plans to travel to the Russian resort of Sochi for talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

"The leaders will discuss regional issues including the situation in Syria, with an emphasis on tightening the military coordination mechanisms," Netanyahu's office said on Wednesday.

Netanyahu is also expected to meet with Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu.