Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s scheduled trip to Moscow next week is part of an ongoing conversation between him and Russian President Vladimir Putin about Syria and Iran, and not an “emergency” meeting scheduled to discuss the dramatic situation in southwestern Syria, a diplomatic source said on Wednesday.The Kremlin spokesman confirmed that Putin will be meeting Netanyahu next week and will also meet the Emir of Qatar if he comes to Moscow for the World Cup. Putin invited Netanyahu two weeks ago to the World Cup, along with a number of other leaders, including Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.The Prime Minister’s Office announced on Tuesday that Netanyahu will be going to Moscow on July 11. This is the day of the second World Cup semi-final match in Moscow, and Netanyahu is expected to attend.This will be Netanyahu's third visit to Russia to meet Putin since the beginning of the year. He has also, according to Kremlin statements put out since the beginning of the year, spoken with the Russian leader six times on the phone.By comparison, Netanyahu has traveled this year one time to the US to meet President Donald Trump, and the White House has put out only two “readouts” of calls between the two men.
Putin invited Netanyahu to Moscow on May 9th to join him at the annual Victory Day Parade marking the victory over Nazi Germany, and the prime minister also went to Moscow on January 29 when the two leaders went to the Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center in Moscow for an event marking International Holocaust Remembrance Day.The Putin-Netanyahu meeting is scheduled to take place five days before Putin is to meet Trump in Helsinki.
PM Netanyahu at the parade commemorating victory over Nazi Germany, May 9, 2018 (GPO)