Netanyahu Tells Russia: We Won’t Let Iran Get Foothold in Syria

YERUSHALAYIM -
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov seen in the foreground at a news conference of Russian President Vladimir Putin. (Host photo agency via Reuters)
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov seen in the foreground at a news conference of Russian President Vladimir Putin. (Host photo agency via Reuters)

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told Russian news agencies on Tuesday that he will do everything he can to keep Iran from gaining a foothold in Syria using the Hizbullah terrorist organization.

“We have a red line, a boundary that we will not allow to be broken. Iran will not be allowed, using Hizbullah, to use Syrian territory to attack us and open up another terrorist front against us in the Golan,” Netanyahu told the TASS news agency and the state-run Interfax news service.

“Israel will continue to share its concerns with the Russian government regarding Hizbullah,” Netanyahu said, adding that he will ask Moscow for its help in dealing with the threat.

“This terrorist group has called for the murder of every Jew and therefore must be prevented from acquiring advanced weaponry from anyone. Hizbullah launched thousands of missiles at our civilians and we will not allow them to amass even more sophisticated weaponry on our border.”

The Palestinian issue was also on the agenda of the meetings in the Kremlin. Russia again made known its interest in having a hand in any revived peace process.

“It is important to get the Israeli-Palestinian [peace] process going,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in Moscow on Monday, at a joint press conference with Finish Foreign Minister Timo Soini who had just met with Netanyahu in Yerushalayim on Thursday.

Lavrov will be meeting on Wednesday with Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riad al-Malki, who will be arriving in Moscow just as Netanyahu winds up his visit.

Russia indicated its lack of enthusiasm for France taking the lead in peacemaking by sending Deputy Foreign Minister for Middle East and Africa countries Mikhail Bogdanov to the Paris summit last week, rather than Lavrov.

“The idea of an international conference is still perceived negatively by Israel and its opinion cannot be ignored. These circumstances should also be taken into account in the work of the Paris forum, as any externally imposed solutions will likely fail,” Bogdanov said.