Bennett: I Discussed Syria, Iran With Putin, Who Was Receptive to Israel's Security Needs

'The Russians are our neighbors ... it is important that we manage the delicate situation in [Syria] smoothly and with no mishaps,' Prime Minister Bennett said before a cabinet meeting

Jonathan Lis
Jonathan Lis
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Prime Minister Naftali Bennett during his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Russia on Friday.
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett during his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Russia on Friday.Credit: PM of Israel twitter
Jonathan Lis
Jonathan Lis

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said on Sunday that he had "found President Putin attentive to Israel's security needs," after the two leaders met for the first time over the past weekend.

"President Putin and I had discussed the situation in Syria," Bennett said at the beginning of a cabinet meeting in Jerusalem. "In some senses, the Russians are our neighbors ... it is important that we manage the delicate situation in [Syria] smoothly and with no mishaps.," Bennett added.

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"We also discussed the Iranian nuclear program," which Bennett dubbed as "alarming" due to its "advanced stage."

On Friday, President Putin demanded from Bennett that Israel sharpen its coordination of strikes in Syria with Russia, as the two leaders held a five-hour discussion in Sochi, their first meeting since Bennett took office in June.

During their meeting, the leaders also discussed ways to curb Iran's nuclear program and renewing tourism between the two countries. The Palestinian issue, meanwhile, was sidelined.

Putin presented the traditional Russian stand at the meeting, which supports a diplomatic solution to Iranian nuclear enrichment. Bennett took the opportunity to encourage Putin to reconsider his positions on the matter.

Bennett explained why Israel believes that a return to the nuclear agreement is futile and presented a series of steps intended to restrain Iran and lead it to backtrack on its plans. It is too early to tell whether Bennett’s arguments had an effect on the Russian position.

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