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Interfax.com  |  Interviews  |  Benjamin Netanyahu: Syria cannot be Iranian base for terrorism and aggression



Interviews


June 07, 2016

Benjamin Netanyahu: Syria cannot be Iranian base for terrorism and aggression


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has given an interview to Interfax ahead of his visit to Russia in which he speaks about the influence that his personal relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin have on the development of interstate ties, about Israels plans regarding new gas fields and said that Israel will into allow Syria to turn into a source of aggression. This will be Netanyahus third visit in under a year.

Question: Mr. Netanyahu, what is the reason for such intense contacts? Does this mean that Russia is a privileged foreign political partner for Israel? What influence does your personal relationship with the Russian president have on the development of interstate ties?

Answer: Russia is an important global power and Israel is an important regional power. President Putin and I understand the value of the ties between our two countries, which have steadily improved over the last quarter of a century. Our relationship has enhanced Russia-Israel cooperation and I expect that this trip will only add to that.

Q.: Your visit to Russia six months ago ended in an important agreement on the creation of a mechanism of coordination between the Israeli and Russian military near Syria. Are there plans to deepen and expand coordination between the militaries of the two counties?

A.: Our coordination mechanism has already proven itself. We would both benefit from strengthening it further.

Q.: How tight is cooperation and information exchange between Israel and Russia in the sphere of combating terrorist and extremist groups? Do you intend to enhance it in the future?

A.: Militant Islamic terrorism poses a grave threat to Israel, to Russia and to the entire world. I have no doubt that we will defeat it, but our victory will come faster when the nations of world stand together.

Q.: Your country has been neutral since the start of the Syrian crisis. Do you think that there is a place for Bashar al-Assad in future Syria? And what is your attitude to the prospects of Syrias federalization?

A.: We have made a point of staying out of the Syrian conflict, with two exceptions: treating wounded Syrians on a humanitarian basis and preventing Iran from using Syria to attack Israel or to transfer sophisticated weapons to Hezbollah. We dont know what will come of Syria, but in any arrangement, it cannot be an Iranian base for terrorism and aggression.

Q.: Will you again insist during your visit to Moscow on guarantees that Russian arms do not fall into the hands of the pro-Iranian Hezbollah movement and on establishing certain mechanisms for preventing this? Do you see Moscow listening to your arguments?

A.: Israel will continue to share its concerns with the Russian government regarding Hezbollah. This terrorist group has called for the murder of every Jew and therefore must be prevented from acquiring advanced weaponry from anyone. Hezbollah launched thousands of missiles at our civilians and we will not allow them to amass even more sophisticated weaponry on our border.

Q.: Israel has blamed Iran for ballistic missile tests and even accuses it of creating missiles that are capable of carrying nuclear warheads. Do you have any proof? For example, Moscow does not see in Tehrans actions any violation of UN Security Council resolutions. Will Israel take unilateral measures if Iran again launches missiles? Will you coordinate your actions with the United States in order to neutralize this irritant?

A.: Iran has repeatedly violated its international obligations not to develop and test ballistic missiles. Furthermore, it has broadcast its intentions by literally writing on those missiles "Israel will be wiped out." Israel will continue to encourage countries around the world to hold Irans feet to the fire and hold it accountable when it violates its international obligations.

Q.: Is the format of international mediators on the Israeli-Palestinian settlement still up-to-date at the current stage? Are you in general interested in mediation, including on the part of Moscow?

A.: Israel has twice forged peace treaties with our Arab neighbors that have lasted for decades. This came about through direct and bilateral negotiations. We hope countries around the world urge the Palestinian leadership to sit down with us in order to talk peace. The problems of the Middle East can ultimately only be solved by those living in the Middle East.

Q.: Russian companies are interested in projects to produce natural gas on Israels Mediterranean shelf. Do you see prospects for cooperation in this sphere, including for example with Gazprom on the Leviathan project?

A.: We only recently passed the legal framework to extract natural gas from our fields in the Mediterranean. This is a revolutionary new development for Israels economy and we are now beginning to explore how to best take advantage of this resource for Israel and for the region.



Interviews
 

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U.S. Ambassador to Russia John Huntsman, who will leave his post in early October, has given an interview to Interfax in which he speaks about exchanges at the highest level between Moscow and Washington, a possibility of Russias return to G8, as well as his vision of the future of U.S.-Russian relations.

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Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov has given an interview to Interfax in which he speaks about the U.S. withdrawal from the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty on that is expected on August 2, about Russia‘s response to the U.S. and NATO possible deployment of missiles banned by the treaty, and about whether the Cuban Missile Crisis may repeat itself.

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German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will hold negotiations on the sidelines of the Petersburg Dialogue forum in Germany on Thursday. Maas has given an interview to Interfax ahead of the forum, in which he speaks about prospects of settling the conflict in Ukraine, Germanys preparations for ensuring security in the absence of the INF Treaty and attempts to save the Iranian nuclear deal.

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German Ambassador to Russia Rudiger von Fritsch, who is leaving Moscow after a five-year mission, told Interfax about the state of affairs in bilateral relations, Germanys position on the Nord Stream 2 project amidst sanction risks, and assessed prospects for settling the crisis in Ukraine under the new authorities in Kyiv.

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U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad has given an interview to Interfax in which he speaks about results of the trilateral meeting on Afghanistan settlement that took place in Moscow on April 25, prospects of the intra-Afghan meeting in Doha, and Russia‘s role in the Afghan issue.

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NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has given an interview to Interfax ahead of the Alliances 70th anniversary that is to be celebrated on April 4. He speaks in the interview about the NATOs vision of future relations with Russia, its attitude to the situation surrounding the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) Treaty and the New START Treaty, as well as further plans of expanding the Alliance.

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British Ambassador to Russia Laurie Bristow has given an interview to Interfax in which he speaks about the current situation in the relationship between the United Kingdom and Russia, the impact of the Skripal case on it, the restoration of the numbers of diplomatic staff, exchange of information on counter-terrorism, possible introduction of sanctions over the Kerch Strait incident, the INF Treaty, and British-Russian economic relations.

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