Putin, Netanyahu to discuss bilateral ties, situation in Syria

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has arrived in Russia for talks with President Vladimir Putin. The leaders reportedly plan to discuss the conflict in Syria and the prospects for settling the Israeli–Palestinian conflict.

Netanyahu’s visit to Moscow comes on the occasion on the 25th anniversary since the restoration of diplomatic relations between the two countries, the Kremlin press service said.

This is the second meeting between the two leaders in Moscow over a period of a month and a half. The previous time Putin and Netanyahu held talks in the Kremlin was on April 21.

Meeting with Putin on Tuesday, Netanyahu plans to discuss the implementation of positions agreed on during Netanyahu’s last visit to Moscow, placing a particular focus on coordination between the Israeli military and Russian forces. Both sides are eager to abide by a so-called deconflicting mechanism put in place to assure that Russian jets can freely operate in Syrian airspace near Israel’s borders.

Middle East issues

The Kremlin press service said the two men were going to have a detailed exchange of opinion on the Middle East regional issues, with special emphasis on the struggle with international terrorism.

“They will also discuss various regional issues including the global fight against terrorism, the situation in and around Syria and the diplomatic horizon between Israel and the Palestinians, as well as bilateral economic and trade cooperation and the strengthening of cultural and humanitarian ties,” Netanyahu’s Office said in a statement.

The two leaders will discuss efforts to maintain the Syrian ceasefire brokered by Washington and Moscow in February. The two leaders will also touch base on the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, in addition to Israeli-Russian trade cooperation and cultural ties.

Russian-Israeli relations

Putin’s Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov said earlier the agenda of the talks would be expansive, since relations between Russia and Israel were at an advanced stage and had the character of partnership.

He indicated that both countries had a big potential and a solid groundwork for bilateral trade, as well we for cooperation in security and international politics.

The Russian Ambassador to Israel, Alexander Shein, said one of the documents that the sides planned to sign during Natanyahu’s visit was an agreement on pensions to the Israelis who did not keep Russian citizenship after emigration from the former USSR.

Netanyahu said upon the end of his talks with Putin in April they had made progress on the problem of pensions for the Russians residing in Israel and on greater Israeli-Russian coordination in the sphere of security.

Israeli Prime Ministers have made thirteen visits to Russia to date since 2000. Netanyahu accounts for seven visits of that number.

Putin said in March 2016 while receiving Israeli President Reuven Rivlin in the Kremlin relations between the two countries relied on friendship, mutual understanding and a long shared history, Tass reported.