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Israeli minister notes importance of coordination of efforts with Russia on Syria

March 21, 22:20 UTC+3 TEL AVIV
"Coordination of steps between us and Russia allows Israel to defend these interests without fear of Russian intervention, and it is extremely important not only in near, but in the long run," he says
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© Noam Daoud/IDF via Getty Images

TEL AVIV, March 21. /TASS/. Coordination between Russia and Israel on Syria is extremely important for the Jewish state, and Israel is counting on its continuation, Israeli Minister of Transport and Intelligence Yisrael Katz said in an interview published by the Israeli portal Newsru.co.il on Monday.

"Coordination of steps between us and Russia allows Israel to defend these interests without fear of Russian intervention, and it is extremely important not only in near, but in the long run." Asked if the coordination of actions would continue after the withdrawal of the main part of the Russian Aerospace Forces from Syria, Katz said, "Of course."

"Russia will retain a certain presence in the region, and, from my point of view, coordination is extremely important for Israel. Syria, Iran and Hizbullah might have expected that Russia would actively oppose the Israeli measures. This did not happen. We have our own interests in what is happening in Syria: first of all, to prevent the hotbed of terrorist activity on the Golan Heights, and also prevent the transfer of strategic weapons from Iran through Syria to Lebanon."

The minister said that "We need to remember that we have interests relating to the Golan Heights, and it is good that in the case of a settlement in Syria, we have the ability to effectively communicate with Russia."

On September 21, 2015, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited Moscow. According to Israeli media, the aim of the visit was "to prevent a misunderstanding between the Israeli Defense Army and the Russian forces" on Syria. Netanyahu said on his Facebook page then he had told Russian President Vladimir Putin about Israel's policy of striking at suspected threats from the Syrian Golan. "Given these circumstances, I came to Russia, to make clear our policy and also to enable that there be no misunderstanding between our forces."

The two countries have established a mechanism to prevent such misunderstandings, which is very important for Israel’s security, according to Netanyahu. In late November last year, Israel and Russia agreed to step up coordination of efforts in connection with the aggravation of the situation in Syria, in order to prevent mistakes and implement coordination on a large scale, the Israeli prime minister said then.

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