Thursday 10 November 2016

Netanyahu to Russian PM: Red line needed on Iranian nukes, bases in Syria

Iran must be prevented from producing nuclear weapons and from placing its military bases in Syria, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told his Russian counterpart Dimitry Medvedev on Thursday.

He spoke against the dangers facing Israel and the Middle East, with a focus on Iran, ISIS and radical Islamic terrorism, during an afternoon meeting in his Jerusalem office.

“We are determined to do two things; the first is to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons,” Netanyahu said.

“Iran has espoused the destruction of Israel and supports terrorism on five continents,” he's said.

Additionally, Netanyahu continued to say Iran must also be prevented from placing military bases in Syria in any situation, whether that condition is part of a ceasefire arrangement with regard to Syria or not, he said.

In addition, Netanyahu said Iran must be prevented from establishing “Shiite militias, which it is organizing, and of course the arming of Hezbollah with dangerous weapons aimed at us.”

Moving to ISIS, Netanyahu spoke of the need for a joint partnership between United States, Russia, Israel and other interested parties to eradicate the terror group.

“That goal would serve all of us and humanity,” he said.

He told Medvedev that Israel and Russia were “partners in the war on radical Islamic terror.”

"We would like to take advantage of the great opportunities of the new world, but there are those who would like to take us backward to the old world of the dark and murderous Middle Ages. We are partners in the war on radical Islamic terror,” he said.

He also thanked Russia for agreeing to help Israel secure the release of three Israeli citizens held in Gaza, as well as the return of the bodies of two soldiers killed during the 2014 Gaza war: Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul.

Medvedev began a three-day trip to the region with a visit to the Western Wall in Jerusalem's Old City early on Thursday.

Prior to his arrival he told Channel 2, “Our country has never denied the rights of Israel or the Jewish people to Jerusalem, the Temple Mount or the Western Wall.”

Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovitch welcomed Medvedev to Judaism's holiest prayer site.

The visit marks 25-years of diplomatic ties between Israel and Russia. While Medvedev is here, the two countries plan to sign agreements in agriculture, customs, high-tech and construction. He also met with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin.

On Friday he is due to meet with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank city of Jericho.

In September, Russia proposed to host a meeting between Abbas and Netanyahu but this has not yet come to fruition.

Russian and Israeli leaders have met many times over the past two years in an effort to avoid military crises in Syria, where Russia is heavily involved in the fighting.

Reuters contributed to this report

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