Jerusalem will host next month an unprecedented trilateral meeting of top security officials from Israel, Russia and the US, the White House announced on Wednesday.
“In June, United States National Security Adviser Ambassador John Bolton, Israeli National Security Adviser Meir Ben-Shabbat, and Russian Secretary of the Security Council Nikolay Patrushev will meet in Jerusalem, Israel, to discuss regional security issues,” the White House press secretary said in a statement issued minutes before the Knesset voted to disband and to set new elections for September 17.
Minutes after the vote, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu referred to the planned meeting, stressing its unique nature and importance for Israel’s national security.
“We have a lot of things that we want to do,” a visibly upset Netanyahu told reporters. “This is what we want to do, not unnecessary elections… A meeting like has never taken place before in Israel. Never.”
He did not reveal what would be on the agenda.
The rare tripartite meeting is expected to deal mostly with Syria, specifically Iran’s efforts to entrench itself militarily near Israel’s borders, and the planned withdrawal of US troops from the war-torn country.
Moscow is a close ally of Tehran and Damascus, while Jerusalem and Washington are the Islamic Republic’s arch-enemies.
Ben-Shabbat met Bolton last month in Washington, mainly to discuss Iran and “other destabilizing actors,” the senior US administration official said at the time.
He and Ben-Shabbat reiterated their “shared commitment to countering Iranian malign activity & other destabilizing actors in the Middle East and around the world,” Bolton tweeted.
Ben-Shabbat last met with Patrushev in September 2018 in Moscow to discuss “regional issues in the Middle East, including the situation in Syria,” according to a readout provided by the Prime Minister’s Office. “National Security Adviser Ben-Shabbat emphasized that Israel insists that Iranian forces must leave all of Syria,” the readout read.