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Putin, Netanyahu to discuss bilateral air cooperation — lawmaker

The talks are expected to focus on Syria

MOSCOW, October 9. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will discuss air cooperation at their upcoming meeting, Chairman of Russia’s State Duma (lower house of parliament) Defense Committee and former Commander of the Russian Airborne Troops Vladimir Shamanov told TASS on Tuesday.

Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters new contacts between Putin and Netanyahu were being worked out, but it was early to speak about a particular date.

"Talks are held [with Israel] and you know that there is an agreement. Soon, another meeting between the president [Putin] and Netanyahu will be held. One of the issues will be to specify issues of air cooperation," Shamanov said.

The talks are expected to focus on Syria, where the situation has drastically changed after Russia delivered three battalion sets of S-300 missile defense systems there, he noted. "There is no danger for [Russian] aircraft in the airspace of Israel, which is adjacent to Syria," Shamanov said, stressing: "We see all jets, including stealth aircraft."

Earlier, Russian MPs discussed a proposal by A Just Russia party to demand that the Transport Ministry provide information whether the flights over Israel meet security requirements after the Il-20 jet’s downing in Syria. According to the lawmakers, after the tragedy additional measures should be made to protect the rights of Russians aimed at preventing a similar situation. However, after Shamanov’s statement the State Duma’s transport committee voted against the proposal.

On September 17, Russia’s Il-20 aircraft was accidently downed by Syrian air defenses over the Mediterranean Sea when it was returning to the Hmeymim airbase. Russian top brass said a missile from Syria’s S-200 system downed the aircraft when it targeted four Israeli F-16 fighter jets, which attacked facilities in Latakia. The Israeli Air Force and those who made the decision to use the Il-20 aircraft as cover are solely to blame for its crash, Russian Defense Ministry Spokesman Major General Igor Konashenkov said.