Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) meets with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Sochi, Russia August 23, 2017..
(photo credit: SPUTNIK/ALEXEI NIKOLSKY/KREMLIN VIA REUTERS)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will fly to Moscow for the day on Monday to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin for talks expected to focus on the day after the Syrian civil war.
Netanyahu’s visit comes the same day as a Russian-sponsored peace conference on Syria – boycotted by the Syrian opposition as well as the main Syrian Kurdish groups – is set to open in the Black Sea resort of Sochi.
The Sochi conference is being sponsored by Russia, Iran and Turkey, and the vast majority of delegates scheduled to attend – according to a report in The Guardian
– are expected to favor a settlement in Syria that will allow Syrian President Bashar Assad to stay in power. The paper reported that a statement due to be backed at the conference will call for the lifting of unilateral sanctions and urge the West to help in the reconstruction of Syria.
This conference is seen as an attempt to diminish the UN-sponsored peace talks on Syria, another round of which came to a close on Saturday in Vienna with no progress.
Netanyahu told the cabinet on Sunday that his talks with Putin will focus on “various regional developments... enhanced security coordination between the IDF and the Russian military forces in Syria... [and] a series of issues that are important – very important – for Israel’s security.”
Netanyahu said during his recent trip to India that Putin is – along with US President Donald Trump and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi – one of the world leaders with whom he has a close relationship. He last met with the Russian leader in Sochi in August.
They speak frequently on the phone, with the discussions generally focused on the situation in Syria. Netanyahu has made clear to Putin that Israel will not tolerate the establishment of a permanent military base for Iran in Syria after the civil war, and will take action to ensure that it doesn’t happen.
In addition to the meeting, Putin and Netanyahu will go to the Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center in Moscow for the opening of an exhibit called “Sobibor: Victorious over Death,” which is dedicated to the 1943 uprising in the Nazi extermination camp.