Netanyahu, Putin talk by phone about regional security, Syria

Jerusalem: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday spoke by telephone with Russian President Vladimir Putin about Middle Eastern security and — especially — the situation in Syria, according to an Israeli government statement.

“Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, this evening … spoke by telephone with Russian President Vladimir Putin. The two leaders discussed developments in the region, with emphasis on Syria and continued security coordination in this sphere, which has already proven itself in preventing misunderstandings,” EFE news quoted the Israeli premier’s office as saying.

The Russian President’s office added that the pair also spoke about the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, without providing any further details, an issue that the Israeli communique did not mention.

The two countries maintain strategic ties, given that there are 1.5 million Russian-speaking Israeli residents, and in 2016 they celebrated the 25th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations.

The Kremlin recently tried to spur peace negotiations, proposing Moscow as the site of a meeting between Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Netanyahu, but those talks were ultimately postponed at the request of Israel.