Meeting focused on Israeli security amidst Russia’s gradual military withdrawal from Syria; Israel reportedly addresses desire for return of UN peacekeeping forces on border; Putin confirms future meeting with Netanyahu
Israeli President Rueven Rivlin traveled to Moscow on Tuesday to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin, the meeting focused on measures for Israel’s security amidst Russia’s military withdrawal from Syria, specifically Hezbollah on the Syrian border with Israel. According to various, unconfirmed reports, Israel addressed the return of UN peacekeeping forces on the Syrian border with Israel, as requested by Israel’s Foreign Ministry.
Rivlin stated prior to arriving to Russia that the meeting was “to coordinate with Russia… We want Iran and Hezbollah not to emerge strengthened from this entire process. Everybody understands that the Islamic State is a danger to the entire world, but for us, fundamentalist Iranian Shi’ite Islam is no less of a danger.”
Following their meeting Wednesday, which last three hours, Rivlin and Putin gave a short press conference. Details of their discussion were not elaborated in the press conference.
Rivlin stated that he “felt like I was sent to the frontline as the envoy of the prime minister, the defense minister and the chief of staff, with whom I spoke in order to formulate the messages to convey to the Russian president.”
Putin spoke of how Israeli-Russian relations “have developed a special relationship primarily because 1.5 million Israeli citizens come from the former Soviet Union, they speak the Russian language, are the bearers of Russian culture, Russian mentality. They maintain relations with their relatives and friends in Russia, and this make the interstate relations very special,” and that “many Holocaust survivors all over the world remember being liberated by the Red Army… The ties between our countries are based on friendship and mutual understanding. We spoke on a variety of issues during our meeting, and we also spoke by phone with the prime minister and agreed to revisit these topics again.”
Putin stated that there is “a large number of questions to discuss linked with the development of bilateral trade and economic relations and questions of the region’s security. I hope that we’ll be able to discuss them in the short run with the Israeli prime minister with whom we have made arrangements for a meeting.”