Netanyahu discusses Middle East hot spots with world leaders

Amid a flurry of diplomatic phone calls, the Israeli prime minister holds talks with with Russian and French leaders to confer on the latest developments in the region.

By: World Israel News Staff

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin to discuss the latest developments in Syria.

The Kremlin said that Putin also called Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi to discuss the same issue.

Tuesday’s conversations  with Netanyahu and el-Sissi followed Putin’s calls with President Donald Trump and Saudi King Salman. They come a day after Syrian President Bashar Assad’s surprise visit to Russia for talks with Putin. The Kremlin says Putin and Assad discussed potential diplomatic initiatives for Syria ahead of a summit between Russia, Turkey and Iran and a new round of Syria peace talks in Geneva later this month.

According to the Kremlin, Putin and Netanyahu discussed specifics related to a de-escalation zone in Syria’s south, near the border with Jordan, which Israel says endangers its security.

Netanyahu and Putin have met on several occasions over the past year, most recently in Sochi on the Black Sea in August. The two leaders speak by phone on a frequent basis.

Also on Tuesday, Netanyahu spoke to French President Emmanuel Macron about the latest tensions in Lebanon, hours after Iranian president Hassan Rouhani told Macron by phone that his country was not seeking to “dominate” the Middle East.

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Reuters quoted Macron’s office as stating that he had told Rouhani and Netanyahu that France was committed to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, but that regional subjects and Iran’s ballistic missile threat should be discussed separately.

Tuesday’s phone call comes after Netanyahu and Macron held a lengthily half-hour phone conversation on Sunday, during which the French leader updated Netanyahu on his country’s efforts to resolve the Lebanese political crisis.

During the conversation, which the Prime Minister’s Office said came at Macron’s request, the two agreed to meet in Paris next month.

“Netanyahu and Macron also spoke about the nuclear deal with Iran, Iran’s efforts to establish itself and Syria, and its actions in the region,” the PMO’s statement said.

Macron has held a series of phone conversations with world leaders in recent days about France’s efforts to keep Lebanon from spiraling into another arena for a growing conflict between Iran and Saudi Arabia and their respective allies.