Russian FM headed to Israel after Latakia strike

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is expected to visit Israel on Sunday.

Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid in a meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov (photo credit: Kobi Amsalem/GPO)
Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid in a meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov
(photo credit: Kobi Amsalem/GPO)

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is expected to visit Israel on Sunday for meetings with Prime Minster Naftali Bennett and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid.

The visit was announced the day after an alleged Israeli bombing of the Latakia port in Syria, near the Russian Khmeimim Air Base. Israel and Russia have a deconfliction mechanism for IAF strikes in Syria, where Russia has a substantial military presence, but Israeli strikes in Latakia and in Syria more broadly, have been points of contention between Jerusalem and Moscow in recent years.

Lavrov last visited Israel with Russian President Vladimir Putin for the World Holocaust Forum in January 2020, but his last trip to Jerusalem for meetings with top Israeli officials was in 2018.

The Russian Foreign Minister will also be in Jerusalem as nuclear negotiations between world powers and Iran continue in Vienna.

Russia continued to call for a restoration of the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, which limited Iran's uranium enrichment until 2030 while gradually lifting sanctions on the regime.

Deputy Secretary General of the European External Action Service (EEAS) Enrique Mora and Iran's chief nuclear negotiator Ali Bagheri Kani wait for the start of a meeting of the JCPOA Joint Commission in Vienna, Austria, December 3, 2021. (credit: EU DELEGATION IN VIENNA/HANDOUT VIA REUTERS)Deputy Secretary General of the European External Action Service (EEAS) Enrique Mora and Iran's chief nuclear negotiator Ali Bagheri Kani wait for the start of a meeting of the JCPOA Joint Commission in Vienna, Austria, December 3, 2021. (credit: EU DELEGATION IN VIENNA/HANDOUT VIA REUTERS)

"We are fully convinced that we have a good chance to find common language at the Vienna Talks," Russian Ambassador to international institutions in Vienna Mikhail Ulyanov tweeted on Monday.

In contrast, American and European diplomats have expressed deep skepticism that Iran is actually seeking an agreement, in light of the regime presenting what the Western JCPOA parties see as an unserious proposal and advancing its nuclear program even as negotiations take place.