TEL AVIV, July 31. /TASS/. Israel’s request to have Iranian forced withdrawn from entire Syria is unrealistic at this stage, Russian Ambassador to Israel Anatoly Viktorov said on Monday.
"They (the Iranians - TASS) are playing an important role in our common efforts towards extermination of terrorists in Syria," he told Israel’s Channel Ten. "That is why at this point we consider unrealistic any requests concerning withdrawal of any foreign forces from Syria."
"We can speak with our Iranian partners very honestly and openly trying to persuade them to do or not to do anything," Vikotorov said. When asked whether Russia can force Iran to leave Syria, he answered, "No, we can’t."
The Russian diplomat confirmed that there is an agreement that only Syrian regular army will be present on the Syrian side of the border with Israel. "We agreed that there will be only Syrian regular army units on the other side of the border (in Syria - TASS)," he said. "Ensuring Israel’s security in top priority. And these are not empty words for Russian foreign policy."
At the talks with visiting Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Chief of General Staff Valery Gerasimov on July 23, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said his country wanted all Iranian forces to be withdrawn from Syria, according to a source in the Israeli government.
Following Lavrov’s and Gerasimov’s visit, the Russian foreign ministry said they had discussed with Netanyahu further steps to complete the anti-terrorist operation in southern Syrian, the Palestinian-Israeli settlement and other aspects of the Middle East agenda.