Israeli PM to meet Putin in Moscow

Jerusalem, April 21 (IANS) Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu left for Moscow on Thursday to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin, the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office said.

Netanyahu, expected to return on Thursday itself, is to discuss the situation in Syria and weapons sales between Russia and Iran with the Russian President, Xinhua news agency reported.

This is the third time that both leaders have met in the past six months. Israeli and Russian military officials have met repeatedly in the past few months to coordinate the two countries’ actions around Syria’s territory.

According to the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office, the two will talk about the coordination between Israeli and remaining Russian forces in neighbouring Syria, in order to prevent accidents, as well as the efforts to sustain a truce in Syria.

Netanyahu had said Israel must make sure its security interests are kept intact following any truce agreement in Syria, fearing that militants remain near the Israeli border.

Another topic which may be discussed is the sale of S-300 surface-to-air missile systems by Russia to Iran.

Netanyahu said Iran poses an “existential threat” to Israel, and opposed the nuclear deal signed between the country and the international community in last July.

Russian President Vladimir Putin extended the invitation to Netanyahu amid a visit by Israeli President Reuven Rivlin to Russia last month, which came several days after the Kremlin said Russia had pulled most of its military forces from Syria, who were deployed there since September 2015.



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