PM, Putin to meet in Moscow next Wednesday after postponement
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PM, Putin to meet in Moscow next Wednesday after postponement

The two leaders had originally been slated to convene Thursday, but Netanyahu remained in Israel in order to push a political merger of right-wing parties

Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, meets with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the Kremlin in Moscow on May 9, 2018. (AFP/Sergei Ilnitsky)
Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, meets with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the Kremlin in Moscow on May 9, 2018. (AFP/Sergei Ilnitsky)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin next Wednesday, his office said Thursday.

The meeting originally set for Thursday was postponed as Netanyahu remained in Israel to push for a merger of right-wing parties ahead of the upcoming elections.

The meeting scheduled will be the two leaders’ first extensive face-to-face talks since the downing of a Russian plane by Syrian air defenses in September during an Israeli airstrike, for which the Kremlin blamed Jerusalem.

An Israel Air Force F-16, December 31, 2015. (Ofer Zidon/Flash90)

Netanyahu has since spoken with Putin by phone and met with him on the sidelines of World War II commemorations in Paris in November, but the two have not held a formal sit-down since last July.

Netanyahu has credited his close contacts with Putin for Moscow allowing Israel to continue to use air power in Syria against Iran. He has reportedly repeatedly sought a meeting with Putin since the incident.

Their meeting will also be their first since US President Donald Trump announced in December he would withdraw all American soldiers from Syria, in a move that was welcomed by Putin but raised concerns in Israel.

On Wednesday, a Russian official characterized Netanyahu’s cancellation to the Kan public broadcaster as “very odd.”

“Netanyahu waited a long time for this meeting,” the official said on condition of anonymity. “Even if the Kremlin does take his reasons into consideration, this meeting is not going to be rescheduled for the near future in my opinion.”

Agencies contributed to this report.

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