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Netanyahu discusses Syria conflict with Putin

The two leaders speak on the phone, agree on ‘continued security cooperation’ along border region

Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) welcomes Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a meeting at the Kremlin in Moscow on June 7, 2016. (AFP Photo/Pool/Maxim Shipenkov)
Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) welcomes Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a meeting at the Kremlin in Moscow on June 7, 2016. (AFP Photo/Pool/Maxim Shipenkov)

Prime Minister Benjamin spoke on the phone Saturday with Russian President Vladimir Putin to discuss the conflict in Syria and “continued security cooperation,” his office said.

The talks came as the 15-member UN Security Council unanimously voted to back a Russian-Turkish peace plan for a ceasefire in Syria and the launch of new peace talks for the war-wracked country.

“Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, this evening… spoke by telephone with Russian President Vladimir Putin,” the premier’s office said in a statement.

“The two leaders discussed developments in the region, with emphasis on Syria and continued security coordination in this sphere, which has already proven itself in preventing misunderstandings,” it added.

During a visit to Moscow in April, Netanyahu discussed with Putin military cooperation between the two countries aimed at preventing confrontations between their warplanes in Syrian airspace.

In June, Netanyahu visited Moscow again and talks with Putin centered on “the implementation of these arrangements,” the premier’s office said at the time.

Russia is a key ally of the Syrian government and has been fighting to bolster the Damascus regime since last year.

Along with Turkey, which backs the armed opposition, they brokered a ceasefire across Syria that entered its second day Saturday and held despite sporadic clashes in parts of the country.

Moscow and Ankara also say the truce aims to pave the way for peace negotiations later next month in Kazakhstan, also organized by Syria regime ally Iran.

Turkey and Russia have said the talks in the Kazakh capital Astana aim to supplement UN-backed peace efforts, not replace them.

Israel is opposed to the Syrian government and has sought to limit its involvement in the conflict.

In April, Netanyahu confirmed that Israel had carried out dozens of strikes against Hezbollah to prevent the group from obtaining advanced weapons — a rare Israeli admission. Israel has vowed to prevent Hezbollah from obtaining “game-changing” arms — in particular advanced anti-aircraft systems and chemical weapons.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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