In a three-hour meeting, President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu agreed to create a joint commission to examine the removal of all foreign forces from Syria. Russia’s S-300 air defense deployment in Syria was also discussed. Netanyahu informed his host that Israel would continue to act in self defense against Iranian aggression from Syria. They broke for lunch during which the Russian president presented Sarah Netanyahu with a bouquet.
Netanyahu later told reporters that the meeting had been “very good” and covered the issues of interest to Israel, such as Iran’s efforts to establish a military presence in Syria. This was discussed in great detail. Examples were presented together with Israel’s steps to thwart them. Netanyahu, who is also defense minister, took with him to Moscow Air Force commander Maj. Gen. Amikam Nurkin and Military Intelligence chief Maj. Gen. Tamir Hayman.
President Putin commented later that their discussion was “very useful.” “Russian-Israeli relations, which everyone had predicted were on the rocks, are proving to be nowhere near this,: he said ‘I would say that we are on track for cooperation.” Netanyahu invited Putin to attend the unveiling in Jerusalem of a monument in honor of Soviet soldiers who died during the WWII siege of Leningrad. Putin accepted the invitation on the spot, saying that the memory of soldiers who died in Leningrad was “sacred.” No date was set for the ceremony.