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Netanyahu in Moscow…Syrian Situation Topping the Agenda | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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A man in Syriamn village in central Syria passing by a destructed building

Moscow- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow on Thursday on the situation in Syria.

Netanyahu told Putin he made the daytrip because Israel must do everything it can to prevent the transfer of sophisticated weapons from Iran and Syria to the so-called Hezbollah.”

He repeated his April 17 declaration that Israel will never give up control of the southern section of the Golan Heights, which it captured in the 1967 Middle East war.

Netanyahu also said he was invited back to Moscow for a June 7 visit marking 25 years since the two countries established diplomatic relations.

While Israel has largely stayed out of the Syria conflict, it has voiced fears that the Syrian section of the Golan will become a launching pad for regular militant attacks against it.

Netanyahu confirmed earlier this month that Israel operates over the border to prevent the so-called Hezbollah from obtaining game-changing weapons, though officials have declined to comment on reports of Israeli involvement in specific attacks.

“Israel has clear red lines connected to our security,” Netanyahu said. “Whether with an agreement or without an agreement, the Golan Heights will remain under Israeli sovereignty.”

Netanyahu’s visit followed the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s visit to Moscow on Monday.

Abbas discussed with Putin renewed peace efforts and a possible international peace conference proposed by France to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Notably, in late January, then-French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius outlined plans to arrange an international conference in the coming months to help resume

the stalled Israeli-Palestinian talks, stressing that France would be prepared to recognize Palestinian statehood if the talks yielded no results.

In a common matter, the Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki called the timing of both visits a “coincidence.”

For his part, Netanyahu confirmed that his trip to Russia aims at stepping up coordination on security matters, to prevent mistakes and misunderstandings.

“We are not going back to the days when rockets were fired at our communities and our children from the top of the Golan… and so, with an agreement or without, the Golan Heights will remain part of Israel’s sovereign territory.”

In a common matter, conflicts and differences between Moscow and Tehran, regarding the current situation in Syria and the future solution to end this crisis, are not hidden any more.

These conflicts were the main ideas tackled in an article written in the Russian newspaper «Kommersant» on Thursday.

The article said: “Despite the visibility of the honeymoon, the approaches of Russia and Iran to some problems go farther. It is most apparent in Syria. While Russia and the USA advocate for national reconciliation and radical political reform in Syria, Tehran believes that the main purpose of the peace process is maintenance of Bashar al-Assad in power; Tehran also described the requests of change saying they are conspiracies from external forces”.