Netanyahu, Putin discuss cooperation against terror in Mideast
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Netanyahu, Putin discuss cooperation against terror in Mideast

In phone call, Israeli PM and Russian president agree to continue contacts at various government levels

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 Netanyahu and Russian President Vladimir Putin discussed in a phone conversation on Saturday the two countries’ cooperation in the fight against terrorism in the Middle East.

The call was initiated by the Israeli leader, according to Russian reports, and the two agreed to continue the dialogue and contact at various government levels.

The conversation came a month after a high-profile visit by Netanyahu to Russia to discuss regional threats and mutual interests. In their meetings in June, the two discussed the ongoing security coordination between the Russian and the Israeli armies, especially their so-called deconflicting mechanism, set up to assure the Israel Defense Forces does not strike Russian jets operating in Syrian airspace.

“We have made a point of staying out of the Syrian conflict, with two exceptions: treating wounded Syrians on a humanitarian basis and preventing Iran from using Syria to attack Israel or to transfer sophisticated weapons to Hezbollah,” Netanyahu said last month. “We don‘t know what will come of Syria, but in any arrangement, it cannot be an Iranian base for terrorism and aggression,” he told Interfax.

Netanyahu and Putin also marked 25 years of Israeli-Russian diplomatic relations, which were reestablished in January 1992, 25 years after the Soviet Union severed them in the wake of the 1967 Six Day War.

Their meeting in the Kremlin in June was the fourth contact between the two leaders in less than a year. Netanyahu visited the Russian capital in September 2015 and in April 2016. In addition, the two briefly got together last November on the sidelines of the Paris climate conference. In comparison, in the same time frame, Netanyahu has only met twice with US President Barack Obama.

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