Netanyahu and Putin Discuss Hezbollah Tunnels, Improved Military Coordination by Telephone

Relations have been tense since the downing of a Russian spyplane two months ago. Despite recent attempts, Netanyahu and Putin have yet to set an official diplomatic meeting

FILE Photo: Russian President Vladimir Putin shakes hands with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during their meeting in Moscow on March 9, 2017.
PAVEL GOLOVKIN / אי־אף־פ�

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke by telephone with Russian President Vladimir Putin and updated him on the details of Operation Northern Shield and Israel's continuing intention to foil the tunnels threat.
 
The two agreed that security delegations from the two countries will meet soon and that a meeting between the leaders would be coordinated.
 
Netanyahu reiterated Israel's policy to prevent the establishment of an Iranian presence in Syria and to act against Iranian and Hezbollah aggression.

The Russian Embassy of Israel tweeted Saturday "Talking with Prime Minister #Netanyahu at the initiative of the Israeli side President #Putin emphasized the necessity to improve the Russian-Israeli interaction in the military sphere."

"It was emphasized that a contact between experts of the Defense Ministries within the joint working group is relevant. The Russian side stressed the need to ensure stability along the line separating #Israel and #Lebanon in strict compliance with 1701 #UNSC resolution," the embassy went on to tweet.

>>Netanyahu spins operation against Hezbollah tunnels into Armageddon-style mission | Analysis 

Last month Putin said he had no intention of meeting with Netanyahu in the near future. However the two spoke briefly at the Paris Peace Forum hosted by French President Emmanuel Macron. 

"The conversation with Putin was good and to the point, and I would even say that it was very important," Netanyahu said at a press conference following the conversation. This was the first time the two leaders spoke in person since the downing of a Russian plane in Syria in September.

The Israeli premier has been trying to obtain a meeting with Putin for a while, especially in light of deterioration in the bilateral ties between the two countries since Moscow accused Israel two months ago of downing a Russian spyplane.

In the past week, the Israeli military launched an operation to destroy cross-border tunnels constructed by Hezbollah, crossing the Lebanon border into Israel.

Netanyahu has said there has already been "operation success" in a statement last week. Israel, Netanyahu added "is operating divisively and responsibly on all fronts simultaneously."