Netanyahu headed to Moscow on Monday

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will visit Moscow Monday to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin, the premier's office said, with the two having held talks in recent months over the conflict in Syria.

Netanyahu's two-day trip is his third to Russia since September and also comes as the two nations mark 25 years since the reestablishment of diplomatic relations.

The Israeli premier's office said the two leaders would discuss "implementing the understandings reached during Netanyahu's visit to Moscow in April".

They will also discuss "regional issues, including those pertaining to the fight against global terror, the situation in Syria and its surroundings, and the prospectives for the diplomatic process between Israel and the Palestinians", a statement read.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov first announced Netanyahu’s visit last week, saying Netanyahu and Putin would discuss a wide range of international issues, including Syria.

With both Israel and Russia having carried out military operations in war-torn Syria, the two countries have sought to coordinate their actions to avoid accidental clashes.

Russian forces back Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad's regime in the conflict. Israel opposes Assad but has sought to avoid being dragged into the war.

Netanyahu and Putin last met at the end of April in Moscow, when Netanyahu clarified to Putin that keeping the Golan Heights in Israeli hands is a "red line."

Reports later said the meeting was called following an aerial incident between the two countries, which reportedly occurred when a Russian jet was scrambled to intercept an Israeli aircraft which was flying along the Syrian coast.

The Kremlin subsequently denied those reports, with Peskov saying that "in this case, Israeli press reports are far from reality."

Joining Netanyahu on his latest trip will be Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel (Jewish Home) and Soviet-born Minister Ze’ev Elkin (Likud), who will finalize a deal regulating pensions for Russian expats who moved to the Jewish state.

Netanyahu will also visit the Moscow museum holding an Israeli tank taken by Syrian forces in the 1982 Lebanon war and later handed over to Russia, which Putin recently agreed to return to Israel.

Israel had sought the return of the tank in part to console the families of soldiers missing in action since the battle in which it was captured.

AFP contributed to this report.

Source: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/213313

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