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September 12, 2019 6:36 am

Russia Raps Netanyahu’s Jordan Valley Plan Before Putin Meeting

avatar by Algemeiner Staff and Agencies

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Russian President Vladimir Putin shake hands during a meeting at the Kremlin in Moscow, May 9, 2018. Photo: Sergei Ilnitsky / Pool / File via Reuters.

Russia condemned Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s plan to annex the Jordan Valley ahead of a meeting between the Israeli leader and President Vladimir Putin later on Thursday, warning it could sharply increase regional tensions.

Netanyahu, who is campaigning for re-election on Sept. 17, announced on Tuesday he intended to “apply Israeli sovereignty” to the Jordan Valley and adjacent northern Dead Sea — territory in the West Bank that it captured in the 1967 Six-Day War and which Palestinians seek for a state.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement late on Wednesday that it had noted what it said was the Arab world’s “strongly negative reaction” to Netanyahu’s announcement.

“We share concerns about such plans from the Israeli leadership, the implementation of which could sharply escalate tensions in the region, undermine hope for establishing a long-awaited peace between Israel and its Arab neighbors,” it said.

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Netanyahu and Putin are due to hold talks in the southern Russian Black Sea city of Sochi later on Thursday.

Before departing Ben-Gurion International Airport on Thursday, Netanyahu stated, “This is a very important trip. At this time, we are operating on several fronts, 360 degrees, in order to ensure the security of Israel in the face of the attempts of Iran and its proxies to attack us, and we are working against them.”

“The Syrian arena is the main one; we hear about it from time to time,” he added. “It is important that we continue to maintain freedom of action for the IDF, including the air force, against Iranian, Hezbollah and other terrorist targets. This trip is designed to continue this important cooperation, which prevents collisions between us and the Russian forces, and to continue to advance the common goal that we agree on, which has yet to be achieved and which is far from being achieved, and that is the withdrawal of Iran from Syria. This is the objective for which I am traveling.”

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