Putin-Bennett meeting to focus on Syria

PM Bennett to depart tomorrow for first meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Sochi.

Yoni Kempinski ,

Putin and Bennett
Putin and Bennett
Reuters & Yonatan Sindel/Flash90

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett will take off tomorrow (Friday) for a brief visit to the Russian city of Sochi at the invitation of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The two will discuss a range of political, security and economic issues affecting the two countries, and important regional issues, most notably the Iranian nuclear program.

This is the first meeting between Prime Minister Bennett and President Putin since Bennett assumed office in June, and the main meeting will take place in private with only interpreters present.

The Israeli translator will be Minister Ze'ev Elkin, who is well-versed in the Israel-Russia relationship and was the translator at all the meetings between President Putin and former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The purpose of the summit in Sochi is first and foremost to establish an unmediated interpersonal relationship between the two leaders in the hope that it will allow for the countries to better work together and resolves issues that may arise between them.

The main issue that will come up in the conversation in Sochi will be the situation in Syria. Israel considers Russia a "neighbor to the north" because of its military presence in Syria. There has been extensive activity by Israel recently against Iranian military targets in Syria.

Another issue that is expected to come up at the summit is the Russian community in Israel and the hope that the community can serve as a bridge between the two countries.

There have already been two phone calls between the two leaders. The first conversation was particularly long and also included historical issues such as the Russian role in defeating Nazi Germany during World War II.

In the second conversation, Prime Minister Bennett congratulated President Putin on his birthday and the two discussed current issues.