Russian Defense Minister To Hold Talks With Liberman

by Ilan Evyatar/TPS

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu will visit Israel in mid-October for talks with Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman, a ministry spokesman confirmed to Tazpit Press Service (TPS) on Sunday.

The spokesman said the Liberman and his Russian counterpart would discuss the Iranian presence in Syria and Iran’s attempts to transfer advanced weaponry to the Lebanese Shi’ite group Hezbollah via Damascus Airport. According to Arab media reports, Israeli jets fired missiles from Lebanese airspace at targets near the airport over Rosh Hashanah. The attack was the third strike on targets around the airport in as many weeks.

Shoigu and Liberman will also discuss bilateral military cooperation including the deconfliction mechanism that has been in place between the countries to prevent aerial clashes since Russia intervened in the Syrian civil war two years ago.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has held regular talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin since the Russian intervention in September 2015. During his last visit to Russia in August, Netanyahu told Putin that “Israel opposes Iran’s continued entrenchment in Syria. We will be sure to defend ourselves with all means against this and any threat.”

The visit will be Shoigu’s first to Israel. Earlier this month, he met in Damascus with Syrian President Bashar Assad.

“During the meeting, the two sides discussed the military and military-technical cooperation between [Russia and Syria] in view of the successful operations of Syrian government troops supported by the Russian Air Force aimed at defeating Islamic State,” the Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement.

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