After Netanyahu-Putin meeting, large Russian delegation to visit Israel
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After Netanyahu-Putin meeting, large Russian delegation to visit Israel

Senior security officials, deputy ministers to arrive Wednesday for talks on Iran's influence in Syria and Lebanon, nuclear deal

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow, January 29, 2018. (Kobi Gideon/GPO)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow, January 29, 2018. (Kobi Gideon/GPO)

A large delegation of senior Russian security officials is slated to arrive in Jerusalem on Wednesday for talks on Iran’s entrenchment in Syria and Lebanon, following Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow on Monday.

A senior Israeli official was quoted by Channel 10 as saying the talks will focus on the same issues discussed by the leaders in Moscow, including Iran’s attempt to increase its influence in Syria; Tehran’s attempts to build rocket factories for the Hezbollah terrorist group in Lebanon; and efforts by Israel and the US to change the terms of the 2015 nuclear deal.

The Prime Minister’s Office confirmed the reports to Hebrew media, saying the delegation will be led by the head of Russia’s security council, Nikolai Patrushev, and will also include the deputy foreign, justice, and public security ministers, as well as generals and top military and intelligence officials.

The PMO said the delegation will be hosted by Meir Ben-Shabat, head of the National Security Council, for talks that will address “regional matters and other issues related to the common interests of Russia and Israel.”

Netanyahu’s meeting with Putin on Monday focused on Iran, with the prime minister saying if Tehran continues to try and deepen its influence in Syria, Israel will “stop it.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, center, Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, Environmental Protection Minister Ze’ev Elkin, 2nd left, and Russian Chief Rabbi Berl Lazar, right, meet in Moscow, Russia, January 29, 2018. (Courtesy PMO)

“The question is: Does Iran entrench itself in Syria, or will this process be stopped. If it doesn’t stop by itself, we will stop it,” Netanyahu told Israeli reporters during a telephone briefing.

“We also spoke about Lebanon, which is becoming a factory for precision-guided missiles that threaten Israel. These missiles pose a grave threat to Israel, and we will cannot accept this threat,” he added.

Netanyahu said that the weapons factories are currently “in the process of being built” by Iran. Israel is determined to do whatever is necessary to prevent those two developments, Netanyahu said.

The prime minister said he and Putin also discussed the nuclear deal with Iran.

“I raised our objections and also those I heard from US President [Donald] Trump. I can’t speak for the Russian position, but they understood that if certain changes weren’t made, it is very possible that the US would make good on its threat” to withdraw from the deal, he said.

Netanyahu described the Moscow talks as “frank, very straightforward, in the positive sense of the word.”

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