Russia and Israel will set up a working group with several other countries to address the issue of removing all foreign forces from Syria, a high-ranking source in the Israeli government told reporters on February 26.
“It was decided to set up a working group with participation of Russia, Israel and several other countries to work on the issue of removing foreign forces from Syria,” the Russian news agency TASS quoted the source as saying.
The announcement came only hours after Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visit to Moscow, where he met with President Vladimir Putin. This was the first extended formal meeting the two leaders had since the downing of the Russian intelligence plane over Syria in September.
Netanyahu said that the meeting with Putin was “good and productive” and revealed that he had shared intelligence information on Iranian deployment in Syria with him. The Israeli PM went on to say that Russia is also interested in removing all foreign powers from the war-torn country.
“Israel will continue to operate as it needs to protect itself from Iranian aggression in Syria,” Netanyahu said, according to the Jerusalem Post.
A day after the Israeli remarks, Putin confirmed that the two countries are working to establish a working group. The Russian President said that the group will have the goal of normalizing the situation in Syria after the defeat of the terrorist groups there.
“The idea is that with all interested parties, first of all, of course, the leadership of the Syrian Arab Republic, it may be the opposition, these are countries of the region, everyone who is involved in this conflict to create a working structure that would take up final normalization after the suppression of the last hotbeds of terrorism,” TASS quoted Putin as saying.
Putin also stressed that the normalization of the situation in Syria requires the full withdrawal of foreign armed forces from there and the restoration of statehood in full with the preservation of territorial integrity.
The upcoming weeks will likely revel more information about the new working group, which could boost the political process in the war-torn country.
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