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Russian Defense Minister on Official Visit to Israel

Sergei Shoigu
AP/Darko Vojinovic

The Jerusalem Post reports: Sergei Shoigu will land in Israel on Monday for meetings with Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, his first visit to the Jewish state since becoming Russia’s defense minister in 2012.

Just days before Liberman flies to Washington to meet Defense Secretary James Mattis for talks on Iran and other regional issues, the meetings with Shoigu are expected to cover the cooperation between Russia and Israel and continued military coordination over Syria, as well as the Iranian entrenchment in the wartorn country and transfer of advanced weapons to Hezbollah by Tehran through Damascus.

Moscow intervened in the Syrian conflict in September 2015, and officials from Israel and Russia meet regularly to discuss the deconfliction mechanism implemented over Syria to avoid accidental clashes. Russia, which views Iran as a key player in resolving the crisis in Syria, has repeatedly emphasized the importance of the role the Islamic Republic plays in the war-torn country.

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