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Sunday, January 1, 2017

Netanyahu and Putin discuss regional developments

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Saturday evening spoke by telephone with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

According to a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office, the two leaders discussed developments in the region, with emphasis on Syria and continued security coordination in this sphere, which has already proven itself in preventing misunderstandings.

Israel and Russia have a joint mechanism to coordinate military operations in Syria, and in particular concerning the use of Syrian airspace. The mechanism was agreed upon during a meeting between Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Putin late last year.

Russia has also expressed an interest in mediating Israel-Palestinian Authority peace talks which have been frozen for more than two years.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said several months ago that Putin wanted to host an Israeli-Palestinian summit to revive the talks.

Several days later, Netanyahu and Putin held a telephone conversation in which they discussed the peace process, among other things, though a Kremlin spokesman later clarified there was "nothing concrete" yet on a meeting between Abbas and Netanyahu.

Most recently, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov said his country is waiting for Israeli and Palestinian Arab proposals on holding a direct meeting between Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman Mahmoud Abbas and Netanyahu.

The PA refuses direct negotiations with Israel and has instead chosen to impose preconditions on such talks.