The two defense ministers discussed Israel’s security issues and agreed to continue an open dialogue between the two countries.
PM Netanyahu with Russian President Putin. Photo Credit: The Kremlin, Office of the President.
During a meeting with Russia’s Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu in Moscow on Thursday, Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman told his Russian counterpart that Israel appreciates Russia’s support of Israel’s security considerations in Syria and in the Palestinian territories.
During the meeting between the two ministers, which lasted over an hour and a half, Liberman said: “Israel appreciates Russia’s understanding of our security needs, especially at our northern border.” He added that “it is important to continue the dialogue between us and keep an open line between the IDF and the Russian military on all pertaining issues.”
The Israeli defense minister, accompanied by IDF Chief of Military Intelligence Tamir Heiman and Head of the Political-Military Bureau at Israel’s Ministry of Defense Zohar Palti, discussed Iran’s military presence in Syria and the escalation at Israel’s southern border with Gaza.
In a second gesture of support towards Israel’s security in recent days, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov yesterday called for the immediate evacuation of all non-Syrian forces from Syria’s southern border. Two days earlier, in a surprising message to the Iranian regime, Lavrov stated that “Assad’s military alone should be present at the southern border of the country.”
Israel’s Hadashot news reported that Russia and Israel have recently held secret discussions regarding Israel’s northern border and have come to an agreement about Syria’s military control of its southern part of the country and areas close to the border with Israel. Russia said it would commit to removing Iranian forces from Syria as well as any Hezbollah presence near the border. In return, Israel would accept the return of Assad’s regime close to its border, but only if Russia could indeed achieve its promises.