Russian FM Meets Netanyahu in Jerusalem over Syria, Iranإقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov met in Jerusalem with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday in talks focusing on the Iranian presence in Syria.
Early in his meeting with the Russian delegation, also attended by Israeli defense officials, Netanyahu stressed the "extraordinarily important" link between the two countries, demonstrated by "the direct meetings between myself and President Putin and between our staffs."
Netanyahu announced earlier at a Cabinet meeting that Russian President Vladimir Putin had a few days ago requested the meeting with the high level delegation that includes Russia's chief of the military's General Staff, Gen. Valery Gerasimov.
Netanyahu said they were to discuss regional developments with "the situation in Syria being first and foremost."
He said he would reiterate Israel's position that it expects Syrian President Bashar Assad and his Iranian-backed allies to honor the 1974 agreement which sets out a demilitarized zone along their shared frontier, and that Israel will continue to act to stop its archenemy Iran from establishing a permanent military presence in Syria.
Israeli media reported that the teams discussed a Russian proposal that would see any forces linked to Iran distanced some 100 kilometers (62 miles) away from the Golan Heights.
Israel's main concern is to keep Iran, which is fighting alongside the forces of Syrian President Bashar Assad, as far away from its border as possible — along with its proxy, the Lebanese Hezbollah and other militia.
Russia, a key Assad ally, has warned it would be unrealistic to expect Iran to fully withdraw from the country.
Monday's meeting comes about two weeks after Netanyahu and Putin discussed Syria and Iran in Moscow.
Hours before the meeting Israel activated a missile defense system against rockets from the fighting in Syria it believed were heading its way.
The incident came after Israel earlier this month, twice in the same week, fired a Patriot missile at an unmanned aircraft that approached the country's border from Syria.
In June, Israel fired a missile at a drone that approached its airspace near the Syrian frontier.