Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday that during his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, the two sides agreed to establish a coordination mechanism to prevent misunderstandings and unintended confrontations between the Israeli military and Russian forces deployed in Syria.
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"This is very important for Israel's security, and this is the first, clear outcome of this conversation," Netanyahu told reporters at the conclusion of his visit to Russia. "It's enough to imagine the alternative – a dangerous confrontation with Russia, and dealing with these misunderstandings after the fact – to understand the importance of this visit."
Netanyahu noted that he briefed the U.S. administration on the details of his trip to Russia and the issues that were discussed with Putin. "Everyone has an interest in preventing an unnecessary clash," Netanyahu said. "Our ties with the U.S. are of foremost importance, strong, steadfast and stable. We are entirely coordinated on this matter."
Netanyahu added that the bulk of the conversation with Putin, which lasted two and a half hours, was dedicated to the security situation on Israel's northern border. He noted that he made it clear to the Russian president that Israel will continue to take action to prevent the transfer of lethal weapons from Syria and Iran to Hezbollah and to thwart Iranian attempts to carry out terror attacks against Israel in the Golan Heights.
"I made it unequivocally clear that we will not tolerate the armament that Iran is leading against us, and will take every action that we have taken so far as well as other measures against this terrorism and these threats to our security," the prime minister said. "I told Putin that it's our right and duty, and he didn't take issue with that."
Netanyahu noted that Putin explained his intentions with regard to deploying military forces in Syria. He said the Russian president made it clear that he will "ensure that whatever intentions Russia has in Syria, it will not be partner to Iranian aggression" against Israel.
After their meeting, Netanyahu told Putin that "on both a personal and national level – in all of our contacts, when we agreed and when we didn't, the conversation between us has always been based on mutual respect and transparency."
Putin responded by saying, "this is how it will be, honorable prime minister. Have no doubts on that matter."
"We never forget that in the State of Israel reside many former Soviet citizens, and that has a special implication on the relationship between our two states. Every Russian action in the area has always been very responsible. We are aware of the artillery against Israel and we condemn it," Putin said.