5 Mar 2018 10:52

Russia ready to give Israel guarantee of keeping Iran off Golan Heights, issue discussed during Netanyahu's visit to Moscow - Israeli Foreign Ministry

JERUSALEM. March 5 (Interfax) - Russia is ready to give Israel a guarantee of keeping Iran off the Golan Heights, the Israeli Foreign Ministry's Deputy General Director and Eurasian Department Director, Alexander Ben-Zvi, told the Russian media in an interview in response to Interfax's question.

"Definitely, yes," Ben-Zvi said. The issue was discussed during the Moscow visit of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in late January, he said.

The differences between Russia and Israel over the Iranian presence in Syria are no secret, Ben-Zvi said.

"Our wish and stance are clear; we have told Russian colleagues multiple times that a settlement in Syria will be possible only after Iran, Hezbollah, and Shia militia are gone from there," he said.

"As I have already said, we have differences over the issue, considering close cooperation between Russia and Iran; we are trying to explain our point of view to Russia. We keep saying that the Iranian presence will lead to an escalation of tensions in Syria, instead of a settlement," Bez-Zvi said.

"The drone is just one example. Israel reacted, but the situation exacerbated instead of improving. We are trying to resolve the problem. I'd rather not go into details and say what we have agreed upon and what issues are outstanding, because these are internal affairs, but I can say there is an understanding. The question is who has interests where and at what stage," Ben-Zvi said.