US President Donald Trump’s meeting with Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin resulted in a “really good” outcome for Israel, the president told Fox News of the Helsinki Summit yesterday.
“We came to a lot of good conclusions. A really good conclusion for Israel. Something very strong,” Trump said of the summit, which was largely expected to discuss the conflict in Syria, and Israel’s security in light of the presence of Iranian militias in the country allied to the Syrian regime.
Trump also said that the Russian President was “a believer in Israel” and a strong supporter of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
“He’s a fan of Bibi,” he said, using Netanyahu’s nickname. “Really helping him a lot and will help him a lot, which is good for all of us.”
At a joint press conference with the Russian leader earlier, Trump said Moscow “would like to do certain things with Syria having to do with the safety of Israel… We absolutely would like to work in order to help Israel, and Israel will be working with us. So both countries work jointly [for this purpose],” adding that “creating safety for Israel is something both Putin and I would like to see very much.”
“Our militaries have gotten along better than our political leaders for a number of years. And we get along in Syria too,” he concluded of the US-Russia relationship.
President Putin echoed Trump’s comments, stating that after opposition forces had been cleared from the south of the country, “the situation on the Golan Heights must be restored to what it was after the 1974 agreement, which set out the terms for the disengagement of forces between Israel and Syria.”
Following the press conference, Netanyahu released a statement thanking the two leaders for their commitment to Israel’s security and stating that he “very much appreciates the security coordination between Israel and Russia and the clear position expressed by President Putin regarding the need to uphold the 1974 Separation of Forces Agreement between Israel and Syria.”
Russia has been fighting alongside Iran and Hezbollah as part of their support of Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad, battling opposition forces across the country since 2015. Israel has been concerned at the presence of Iranian allied forces in the country, resulting in frequent Israeli strikes against certain Syrian targets.
Netanyahu flew to Moscow last week to discuss future plans for Iranian troops in the country, seeking assurance the militias will be removed from the neighbouring Golan Heights. He also spoke to President Trump via phone, reportedly asking the president to demand this condition from Russia.
Netanyahu praised in his remarks what he described as the US President’s “firm policy” towards Iran, adding that since the policy was adopted “we have seen its significant impact on Iran”.