Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow.
(photo credit: KOBI GIDEON/GPO)
Russian President Vladimir Putin is both a “believer in Israel” and a “fan of Bibi,” US President Donald Trump said Monday evening, using Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s nickname.
Trump’s comment came in an interview with Sean Hannity of Fox News following the president’s summit and press conference with Putin.
The US president said that he and Putin “came to a lot of good conclusions” during the meeting
, including “a really good conclusion for Israel, something very strong.”
Though Trump did not spell out what the conclusion was, he said Putin is “a believer in Israel; he is a fan of Bibi and really helping him a lot – and will help a lot, which is good for all of us.”
These comments came less than a week after Netanyahu traveled to Moscow for a meeting with Putin, their third this year and ninth in the last three years, since Russia became heavily engaged militarily in Syria.
Netanyahu posted the 19-second clip on his Twitter account, writing: “I will continue to strengthen Israel as a rising global force.”
Following his meeting with Putin last week, Netanyahu said the Russians had distanced Iranian forces and their Shia proxies dozens of kilometers away from Syria’s border with Israel. Netanyahu has repeatedly said that Israel will not accept an Iranian presence in Syria, but made clear in Moscow that “the immediate priorities were to distance the Iranian forces away from the border, and to remove Iranian long-range missiles from Syria.”
Putin, in his press conference with Trump on Monday, said: “The south of Syria should be brought to the full compliance with the treaty of 1974, about the separation of forces of Israel and Syria. This will bring peace to the Golan Heights and bring [a] more peaceful relationship between Syria and Israel – and also provide security of the State of Israel.”
Putin said during the press conference that Trump “paid special attention to the issue during today’s negotiations. And I would like to confirm that Russia is interested in this development and will act accordingly.”
Trump, during the press conference, lauded the closeness of the US-Israel relationship, saying, “We’ve worked with Israel long and hard for many years, many decades. I think we’ve never – never has anyone, any country, been closer than we are.”
That closeness was evident in May, when Trump not only moved the US Embassy to Jerusalem, but also withdrew from the Iranian nuclear deal, an agreement Israel adamantly opposed. Kan News on Tuesday evening broadcast a recording of Netanyahu telling a recent Likud gathering that Israel convinced Trump to “stand against the whole world against the agreement, and now [against] the Iranian regime.”
The U.S. officially opens its embassy in Jerusalem as dozens killed in Gaza protests, May 14, 2018 (Reuters)
Netanyahu, in the recording, stressed the Iranian regime, and not the Iranian “people,” saying “we have nothing against them.”
When someone in the audience shouted that the regime will disappear, Netanyahu replied: “From your mouth to God’s ears.”
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