Russian defense minister arrives in Israel for ‘urgent’ talks on Syria, Iran

Russia’s defense minister arrived in Israel for discussions on Iran and security coordination in Syria.

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu arrived in Israel on Monday for a two-day visit to meet with his Israeli counterpart, Avigdor Liberman, for discussions on Iran and security coordination in Syria.

Shoigu’s visit to Israel is his first since becoming Russia’s defense minister in 2012.

He said during the meeting that he wanted to discuss “several issues that require urgent solutions and discussion of the prospects for further development of the situation in Syria,” Russia’s Sputnik News reported.

Shoigu also expressed certainty that the talks would help “to better understand each other” and contribute to the strengthening of friendly relations between the Russian and Israeli militaries.

Liberman visited Russia in April and met with high-level officials, including Shoigu.

The meeting between the defense ministers addressed similar issues raised by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during his late-August meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Sochi. Netanyahu and Putin discussed Iran’s “accelerated” presence in Syria and the transfer of weapons to the Lebanese terror group Hezbollah.

Netanyahu and Putin have held six bilateral meetings over the past two years to discuss regional issues and to maintain a protocol that prevents friction between their militaries in Syria.

In July, Netanyahu said a ceasefire agreement in southern Syria, brokered by the US and Russia at the G20 Summit in Germany, endangers Israel’s security and perpetuates the presence of Iranian forces near Israel. America and Russia responded to Netanyahu’s criticism by saying Israel’s interests would be taken into account in the war-torn state.

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Shoigu’s arrival in Israel came just hours after the Israeli Air Force (IAF) launched a retaliatory strike against a Syrian army anti-aircraft battery Monday morning.

IDF spokesman Brig. Gen. Ronen Manelis said the Russian military was notified in real time as the Israeli strike was launched and that the incident will be addressed directly with Shoigu.

By: and World Israel News Staff