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Israel rejects to keep Iranian militias 100 km from Golan

Orient Net 2018-07-24 05:02:00

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Israel on Monday (July 23) rebuffed a Russian offer to keep Iranian militias in Syria at least 100 kilometres from the Golan Heights ceasefire line, an Israeli official told Reuters.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the issue came up during a meeting between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and a visiting Russian delegation led by Russia’s foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov.

The official said that Netanyahu told Lavrov “we will not allow the Iranians to establish themselves even 100 kilometres from the border.”

Early in his meeting with the Russian delegation, also attended by Israeli defense officials, Netanyahu stressed the “extraordinarily important” link between the two countries, demonstrated by “the direct meetings between myself and President Putin and between our staffs,” AP reported.

Netanyahu said earlier he would reiterate Israel’s position that it expects Assad and his Iranian-backed allies to honor the 1974 agreement, which sets out a demilitarized zone along their shared frontier, and that Israel will continue to act to stop its archenemy Iran from establishing a permanent military presence in Syria.

Israeli media reported that the teams discussed a Russian proposal that would see any forces linked to Iran distanced some 100 km (62 miles) away from the Golan Heights.

Israel’s main concern is to keep Iran, which is fighting alongside the Assad militia, as far away from its border as possible — along with its proxy, the Lebanese Hezbollah and other militias. 

Russia, a key Assad ally, has warned it would be unrealistic to expect Iran to fully withdraw from the country.

Monday’s meeting comes about two weeks after Netanyahu and Putin discussed Syria and Iran in Moscow.

Hours before the meeting Israel activated a missile defense system against rockets from the fighting in Syria it believed were heading its way.

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