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Sunday, December 27, 2015

Hmmm: Russian special envoy on Syria secretly visited Israel last week

Russia’s special envoy on Syria, Alexander Lavrentiev, secretly visited Israel last week to discuss UN-backed negotiations to reach a diplomatic solution in Syria.
The Russian visit with members of the Foreign Ministry and the Prime Minister’s Office was shrouded in great secrecy in Israel. The Foreign Ministry declined to respond to questions from Haaretz about the meeting, and Netanyahu’s bureau declined to say whether the premier was going to meet Lavrentiev.

Lavrentiev was personally appointed by Putin and only took office a few weeks ago. He arrived in Israel in a special Russian Air Force aircraft at the head of a large delegation, which included Sergey Vershinin, the head of the Middle East desk in the Russian Foreign Ministry, and representatives of Russian intelligence.

The delegation was hosted by National Security Adviser Yossi Cohen, who is set to take up the post of Mossad chief in a few weeks.

A senior Israeli official said Cohen and the other Israeli officials presented Israel’s interests to the Russians. Their key points included maintaining the freedom to thwart terror attacks from over the border in Syria, and preventing advanced weaponry from moving from Syria to Hezbollah in Lebanon.

The Israelis made clear that in any future diplomatic agreement formulated by the world powers involving Syria, the latter would have to stop using its territory for direct or indirect attacks on Israel.
And let's just hope that the Golan was not part of the conversation because it's not even on the table.

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