Bolton, Netanyahu, Ben-Shabbat and Patrushev meet on Iran’s entrenchment in region and Syria in historic first trilateral meeting; Netanyahu: the departure of all foreign forces from Syria who entered Syria after 2011 will be good for Russia, good for the US, good for Israel, and may I add, good for Syria; Bolton: There is simply no evidence that Iran has made the strategic decision to renounce nuclear weapons.
Security heads from Israel, Russia, and the United States met in Jerusalem on Tuesday morning to discuss Iran’s entrenchment in Syria and regional security issues, making history as the first trilateral summit between the three countries. Prime Minister Netanyahu met with all three country’s security advisors, US National Security Adviser John Bolton, Israel’s National Security Adviser Meir Ben-Shabbat and Russia’s Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev.
The leaders gave a press conference following their high-end meeting. Bolton called on Iran to enter negotiations as the United States placed more sanctions on Iran, targeting its government and Supreme Ruler. He referred to the Islamic Republic’s extended terror and efforts throughout the Middle East, from its attacks on US military sites to its proxies Hezbollah and the Houthis in Yemen. On Iran’s nuclear program and the collapsing nuclear deal, which Iran has threatened to abandon in its entirety due to its economic crisis, he stated, “There is simply no evidence that Iran has made the strategic decision to renounce nuclear weapons.” He added, “All that Iran needs to do is to walk through that open door.”
Prime Minister Netanyahu praised the alliance and cooperation with Russia and the United States on Iran and Syria, summarizing relations as “Israel’s relations with the United States of America has reached new heights under President Trump’s leadership. Equally, Israel is grateful that our friendship with Russia has gotten stronger—stronger than ever in recent years.” On the “challenge of how to bring security and stability in our immediate region.” Netanyahu spoke of Israel’s red lines and actions to prevent Iran’s entrenchment in neighboring Syria, through its airstrikes and intelligence operations. On this, he stated Tuesday morning, “Israel has acted hundreds of times to prevent Iran from entrenching itself militarily in Syria, while it actively and openly calls and works for our destruction. We have acted hundreds of times to prevent Iran from delivering increasingly sophisticated weaponry to Hezbollah, or to form a second front in the north against us from the Golan Heights.” He reiterated that Israel and the Israel Defense Forces “will continue to prevent Iran from using [the] neighboring territory as platforms to attack us, and Israel will respond forcefully to any such attacks.”
He praised Israel’s ongoing military coordination in Syria with Russia, thanking President Putin and his government for “working closely with Israel on a mechanism of deconfliction that helps ensure that as we defend ourselves [and that] we do not put Russian forces in harm’s way.” Specifically thanking the Trump Administration, he stated, “I want to thank the United States and President Trump from unequivocally backing Israel’s right to defend itself.”
On the common goal of a “peaceful, stable and secure Syria,” he called on Syria to adhere to UN Security Council Resolution 2254’s call for a ceasefire and disarmament in Syria. The prime minister spoke of an even larger goal “that is no foreign forces that arrived in Syria after 2011 remain in Syria… which will create a more stable Middle East, or at least a more stable Middle East in this part of that region… the departure of all foreign forces from Syria who entered Syria after 2011 will be good for Russia, good for the United States, good for Israel, and may I add, good for Syria.”