After tensions over chemical attack, Liberman meets Lavrov

The Israel Ministry of Defense released a video (below) of the first seconds of a meeting between Russia’s Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, and Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman in Moscow today.

If I had to guess, I would say there was some tension in the room. It probably had a lot to do with Russia’s response to the fact that Liberman had no qualms about sharing the Israeli assessment that the chemical massacre carried out in Syria earlier this month was directly ordered by Basher Al-Assad.

Liberman was one of the first voices on the international stage to confirm that the Assad regime conducted the heinous attack, which killed some 100 people.

At the time, Russian President Vladimir Putin called such statements “groundless.” He also criticized Prime Minister Netanyahu over them during a tense phone call between them.

During his meetings on Wednesday, Liberman told his Russian hosts that Israel would exhibit zero tolerance for concentrations of Iranian or Hezbollah forces in southern Syria, near the Israeli border. These are both members of the ground coalition that is fighting to keep the Assad regime in power – a coalition that has been relying on Russian air power since 2015.

During talks with Lavrov, and with Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu, Liberman stated: “We will not allow concentrations of Iranian and Hezbollah forces on the border on the Golan Heights.”
He noted that Israel Defense Forces and Russian military representatives met 9 times since the establishment of a deconfliction mechanism between them, adding that this has “proven itself as an effective mechanism that prevents unnecessary friction.”
Liberman is a Russian-speaking Israeli defense minister who was born in Moldova. He emigrated to Israel with his family in 1978.

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