Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sarah before leaving for a diplomatic visit to Moscow, Russia (July 7, 2018).
(photo credit: KOBI GIDON / GPO)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu left Wednesday morning for a 24 hour trip to Moscow, where talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin are expected to center not only on Iran’s presence in Syria, but also Putin’s upcoming talks with US President Donald Trump.
Before taking off, Netanyahu told reporters he will discuss with Putin Syria, Iran and “Israel’s security needs.”
Netanyahu said he “very much appreciates the excellent direct contact I have with President Putin. It is very important to Israel’s national security.”
Netanyahu is expected to stress Israel’s continued opposition to any Iranian presence in Syria. While that is Israel’s public position, the talks are expected to concentrate on ensuring that Iranian forces, Hezbollah or Shia militia forces do not penetrate into southern Syria along with Syrian Resident Bashar Assad’s forces.
PM Netanyahu stresses importance of coordination between the IDF and the Russian military prior to taking off for Moscow to meet with Putin, May 9, 2018 (GPO)
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Netanyahu is scheduled to meet Putin this evening, just prior to the World Cup semifinal in Moscow, which he then is expected to attend along with Putin. Netanyahu will bring two young cancer patients he invited to join the trip to the game, which he will attend with his wife Sara.
No other meetings are on Netanyahu’s itinerary, and he is scheduled to fly home Thursday morning.
This will be Netanyahu’s third meeting with Putin this year, and the ninth since Putin moved into Syria in September 2015.
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