PM: Israel, Russia deepening coordination to avoid Syria ‘mishaps’
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PM: Israel, Russia deepening coordination to avoid Syria ‘mishaps’

In Paris meeting, Russian president says Hanukkah’s ‘story of light and dark’ should be applied to global affairs

Tamar Pileggi is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (left) meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the COP 21 United Nations conference on climate change at Le Bourget, on the outskirts of Paris, France, on November 30, 2015. (screen capture: YouTube)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (left) meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the COP 21 United Nations conference on climate change at Le Bourget, on the outskirts of Paris, France, on November 30, 2015. (screen capture: YouTube)

Israel and Russia are to increase their military coordination during the latter’s ongoing airstrikes in Syria, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday, after talks with Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the Paris climate conference.

“I just had an important talk with Russian President Vladimir Putin. We agreed to deepen the coordination between us in order to prevent mishaps and to do so on a broad basis,” Netanyahu told reporters after their brief meeting.

“I think that every citizen of Israel understands today, in light of recent events on the Turkish border, the great importance of my trip to Moscow and these ongoing contacts with the Russian president,” he said, referring to the Russian jet shot down last week by Turkey along the Turkish-Syrian border.

Furthermore, Netanyahu said, senior Israel Defense Forces and Russian military officers were to meet Tuesday “in order to continue this policy.”

The prime minister said the Kremlin strongman had updated him on the developments with the Russian warplane.

Putin also expressed satisfaction at the deconfliction agreement reached with Netanyahu in September, which outlined a mechanism to avoid unintended clashes between the activity of the IDF and the Russian army. He also acknowledged the mechanism had been proposed by Netanyahu.

The meeting came on the heels of statements from senior Israeli officials, who publicly praised the close security coordination between Jerusalem and Moscow, saying it had prevented incidents like the downing of the Russian warplane.

That incident sent recriminations flying between Turkey and Russia — two players in the Syrian war — just as Western allies began a push for a broader coalition to try to defeat the Islamic State terrorist group.

Putin told Netanyahu on Monday that he extended his good wishes ahead of the “very bright” Jewish holiday of Hanukkah, which he said “symbolizes the triumph of light over dark.”

The Russian president also expressed the hope that the spirit of the holiday would extend to “international affairs.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau during the COP21, United Nations Climate Change Conference, in Le Bourget, outside Paris on November 30, 2015. (Amos Ben Gershom/GPO)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau during the COP21, United Nations Climate Change Conference, in Le Bourget, outside Paris on November 30, 2015. (Amos Ben Gershom/GPO)

Also Monday, Netanyahu also met briefly for the first time with the newly elected Canadian prime minister, Justin Trudeau.

Netanyahu praised the “superb” relationship between Israel and Canada and said bilateral relations could be made “even stronger.” He also invited Trudeau to Jerusalem.

Trudeau, in turn, lauded the “very strong friendship and relationship between Canada and Israel,” and said he “looks forward” to continuing close ties.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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