Netanyahu to meet with Putin in Sochi Wednesday, talks to center on Syria and Iran

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with President of Russia Vladimir Putin, Nov. 20, 2013. (Photo: Kobi Gideon/GPO)

Prime Minister Netanyahu will meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin this week, their meeting to center on Iran and Syria.

Netanyahu will travel to Russia on Wednesday to discuss “the latest developments in the region” with the Russian president, the Prime Minister’s Office confirming the talks will center on the ceasefire and developments in Syria, as well as Iran’s efforts in the Middle East.

The office also noted the ongoing military coordination on Syria between Russia and Israel, stating “in the last two years Prime Minister Netanyahu has met with President Putin every few months to discuss bilateral and regional issues with the intention of preventing any clashes between Israeli and Russian air forces in Syria, with success until now.”

Last month, Netanyahu and Putin held a conversation by phone, the Kremlin summarizing their meeting as “Mr. Putin and Mr. Netanyahu continued their exchange of opinions on topical issues of Russia-Israel cooperation. In the context of joint efforts against international terrorism, they discussed the Middle East settlement and the situation in Syria.”

The prime minister last traveled to Russia to discuss Syria and Iran with Putin in March of this year, warning of Iran’s efforts in the region and spread of radical Shiite Islamic terrorism, stating, “We do not want this terrorism to be replaced by the radical Shiite Islamic terrorism led by Iran. The threat of radical Shiite Islam threatens us no less than it does the region and the peace of the world, and I know that we are partners in the desire to prevent any kind of victory by radical Islam of any sort.”

This week’s meeting comes following an Israeli security delegation that met with security and White House officials in Washington on Thursday. The delegation was led by Mossad Director Yossi Cohen and included meetings with Trump’s National Security Advisor H.R. Masters, Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt and Deputy National Security Advisor Dina Powell.

The meeting comes following Cohen’s intelligence report to Prime Minister Netanyahu on Iran’s ongoing rush for territory in the region. In his report, Cohen showed Iran’s territorial gains, mainly in Syria, but also in Yemen, Iraq and Lebanon, as well as on the Islamic Republic’s economic growth following the nuclear deal. According to Cohen, “The areas where Daesh [ISIS] presence is decreasing, Iran is working to fill the void.”

Prime Minister Netanyahu addressed the Mossad Chief’s report, stating on Sunday evening to the press “I’ll give you a summary in one sentence—ISIS going out, Iran coming in. Simple. We’re mostly talking about Syria. Our policy is clear: We firmly oppose to the military buildup of Iran and its proxies, primarily Hezbollah, in Syria. And we will do whatever it takes to protect Israel’s security.”

This article originally appeared on Behold Israel, August 20, 2017, and reposted with permission.