FM Katz discusses Iran, Issachar, with Russian FM Lavrov in Rome

The meeting comes amid contentious bilateral issues between the two countries, particularly on Russia’s role in the Middle East, and Naama Issachar, who was sentenced in Russia for drug smuggling.

Israel's Foreign Minister Israel Katz (photo credit: SEBASTIAN SCHEINER/POOL VIA REUTERS)
Israel's Foreign Minister Israel Katz
(photo credit: SEBASTIAN SCHEINER/POOL VIA REUTERS)
As part of the meeting, Foreign Minister Israel Katz addressed his Russian colleague on the topic of Naama Issachar, expressing hope that President Putin would accept the pardon requests submitted to him, and in addition, an increase in the frequency of meetings between Naama and her family.
Issachar was sentenced in Russia a month ago to 7 1/2 years in prison for drug smuggling. She had been detained in Russia since April after 9 grams of marijuana were found in her luggage before a connecting flight on the way from India to Israel. She had not planned to enter Russia.
On the issue of Iranian influence in the Middle East, Minister Katz said that  "[he] emphasized the need to bring about Iran's withdrawal from Syria, and the fact that Israel will continue to work to safeguard its security interests and prevent Iran's entrenchment in Syria, in coordination with Russia in order to avoid mishaps and harm towards Russian forces stationed there."
Beyond the pressing matters between the two countries, Katz also welcomed President Putin's expected arrival in Israel in January 2020 for the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, and the inauguration of a monument for fallen Red Army soldiers in defense of Leningrad (Saint Petersburg) during World War II.