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Iran must leave Syria, Netanyahu reiterates to Putin, Pompeo

PM tells cabinet meeting he made Israel’s policy clear: ‘We will act and are already acting against Iran’s attempts to establish itself in that country’

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (left) and Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Kremlin, May 9, 2018. (Amos Ben Gerschom/GPO)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (left) and Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Kremlin, May 9, 2018. (Amos Ben Gerschom/GPO)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday told his weekly cabinet meeting that he spoke over the weekend with both Russian President Vladimir Putin and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, reiterating to them the importance of booting Iran out of Syria.

“I made clear to them our principles on this matter,” he said. “Iran must leave Syria and we will act and are already acting against Iran’s attempts to establish itself in that country.”

The Kremlin said Putin and Netanyahu talked about “joint efforts to provide security near the Syrian-Israeli border” during their phone call. They also “expressed readiness to boost the coordination of their actions with regard to Syria, including in countering international terrorism,” the Kremlin said.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) meets with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at the Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv on April 29, 2018. (Haim Zach/GPO)

Pompeo and Netanyahu met in Tel Aviv in April, when the two discussed concerns regarding Iranian troops and Iran-backed militia operating in Syria.

Netanyahu has spoken and met with Putin regularly in recent years regarding Syria, where Russia is fighting on behalf of Syrian President Bashar Assad.

The two most recently met in Moscow last month. Shortly after that meeting, an airstrike in Syria attributed to Israel targeted an Iranian military base. Like Russia, Iran is a key backer of the Syrian regime.

Israel has repeatedly vowed it will not tolerate an Iranian military presence in Syria and has carried out strikes against Iran-backed forces and attempts to smuggle advanced weapons to the Lebanon-based Hezbollah terror group.

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