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June 14, 2016 12:09 pm

Russia Might Use Veto Power to Protect Israel at United Nations, Israeli Official Says

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Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a September 2015 meeting in Moscow. Photo: GPO.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a September 2015 meeting in Moscow. Photo: GPO.

Russia is not ruling out using its veto power at the United Nations Security Council to thwart anti-Israel resolutions, an unnamed Israeli diplomatic official involved in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s trip to Moscow last week told the Israeli news site nrg.

However, the official did qualify his statement, saying that the chances of Russia wielding its veto power in such a manner were very low.

The official noted that the high level of respect Russian President Vladmir Putin demonstrated toward Netanyahu and his traveling entourage last week was unprecedented and indicated Russia’s deep desire to bolster its relationship with Israel.

Netanyahu’s trip to Moscow came against the backdrop of the concern among Israeli officials that US President Barack Obama, before he leaves the White House in January, will seek to promote, or at least refrain from vetoing, a UN Security Council resolution that outlines the parameters of a future peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians. According to the nrg report, this concern was validated by conversations leading Israeli politician Yair Lapid had with Obama advisers during a recent trip to Washington. On the other hand, just last week, US National Security Adviser Susan Rice said in speech at the American Jewish Committee conference in Washington, “Peace will not come through resolutions at the United Nations.”

The Israeli diplomatic official declined to tell nrg what Netanyahu and Putin discussed during their two meetings in Moscow last week. But the official did say that Putin went out of his way to give the Israeli prime minister a warm welcome. Both meetings lasted twice as long as planned, over four hours in total.

According to the report, Israeli officials believe Putin is seeking closer ties with Israel because Israel is the only Western country that has not taken part in the international sanctions imposed on Russia over its military intervention in Ukraine. The Jewish state has studiously avoided taking a position on the conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

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