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March 17, 2016 12:37 pm

During Moscow Visit, Rivlin Urges Putin to Prevent Iran, Hezbollah From Gaining Stronger Foothold in Syria

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Israeli President Reuven Rivlin met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow. Photo: Israeli President's Office.

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow. Photo: Israeli President’s Office. – Israeli President Reuven Rivlin met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow on Wednesday where the Israeli leader urged Putin to not let Iran and Hezbollah gain a stronger foothold along the Syrian border with Israel.

In a joint press conference ahead of their meeting, both leaders praised the ties between the two countries.

“Russia and Israel have developed a special relationship primarily because 1.5 million Israeli citizens come from the former Soviet Union, they speak the Russian language, are the bearers of Russian culture, Russian mentality. They maintain relations with their relatives and friends in Russia, and this make the interstate relations very special”, Putin said, the Russian news agency TASS reported.

Rivlin also told Putin how the Jewish people will never forgot the role Russia played in World War II and that “many Holocaust survivors all over the world remember being liberated by the Red Army.”

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“Today, we also both face terror and fundamentalism,” Rivlin said.

During their private meeting, Rivlin reportedly told Putin that Israel was interested in restoring United Nations peacekeeping force between the Israeli-Syria border and that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was concerned about Iran and Hezbollah establishing a foothold in that region.

“Russia’s interests in Syria are clear to us,” an anonymous Israeli official told Haaretz. “President Putin spoke of his wishes and plans clearly and president Rivlin will pass them on to the prime minister.”

Putin also told Rivlin that he plans to meet with Netanyahu soon to discuss the security situation in the region.

Putin said that Russia and Israel “have a large number of questions to discuss linked with the development of bilateral trade and economic relations and questions of the region’s security,” the Russian news agency TASS reported.

“I hope that we’ll be able to discuss them in the short run with the Israeli prime minister with whom we have made arrangements for a meeting,” Putin said.

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