Russian President Vladimir Putin (L), Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (C) and US President Donald Trump (R).
(photo credit: REUTERS)
A trilateral Israeli, US and Russian meeting of national security advisers is scheduled to take place in Israel in June to deal with regional security issues, and is expected to focus on Iran’s involvement in Syria.
On Wednesday night, just before the Knesset decided to dissolve itself, the White House issued a statement saying that US National Security Adviser John Bolton, Israeli National Security Adviser Meir Ben-Shabbat and Russian Secretary of the Security Council Nikolay Patrushev will meet in Jerusalem in June “to discuss regional security issues.”
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu mentioned the planned meeting in the agitated statement he gave after the Knesset vote, saying that these are the issues the country should be dealing with, not another round of elections.
“I proposed to [US President Donald] Trump and [Russian President Vladimir] Putin to form a US-Russia-Israel trilateral committee that would meet in Jerusalem to discuss the security situation in the Middle East and both of them agreed,” Netanyahu said. “This is unprecedented. A meeting like has never taken place before in Israel. Never.”
The Russian media reported that Yevgeny Anoshin, a spokesman for Patrushev, confirmed the meeting to journalists.
Netanyahu first proposed the idea at the Kremlin in February during a meeting with Putin that dealt primarily with Iran’s presence in Syria.
“The greatest threat to stability and security in the region comes from Iran and its proxies,” Netanyahu said before that meeting. “We are determined to continue with our aggressive action against the efforts of Iran – which calls for our destruction – and against its attempt to entrench militarily in Syria.”
Netanyahu said at the time that the objective of removing Iranian troops from Syria is not Israel’s alone. He proposed setting up a team with others to promote the goal of removing all foreign forces on from Syrian soil and returning the situation regarding foreign troops to what it was before the start of the Syrian civil war. He said that a team has been established to deal with this matter in Israel’s National Security Council.
During a meeting in the White House in March, Netanyahu presented Trump with a plan to remove the Iranians from Syria, and a senior Israeli diplomatic official at the time said that he is also trying to enlist Putin’s support for that plan.
The Kremlin quickly denied that Netanyahu presented Putin with a plan.