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Netanyahu, Putin meet for first time since friendly fire incident

Russia and Israel set up a hotline to avoid accidental clashes in Syria (Getty)

Date of publication: 11 November, 2018

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Netanyahu and Putin met for the first time since a friendly fire incident in Syria.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met Russian President Vladimir Putin in Paris on Sunday, their first face-to-face talks since the accidental downing of a Russian plane in Syria provoked tensions.

Netanyahu, who like the Russian leader was in the French capital for World War I commemorations, told journalists he "spoke to many leaders, with President (Donald) Trump of course and also with President Putin."

"My conversation with President Putin was good and to the point -- I would even say very important," Netanyahu said.

"Beyond that I do not intend to elaborate."

Their conversation was their first face-to-face meeting since the Russian plane was downed on September 17 by Syrian air defences, fired in response to an Israeli raid in the country.

Fifteen Russians were killed in the incident, which Moscow blamed on Israel, accusing its pilots of using the larger Russian plane as cover.

Israel disputes the Russian findings and says its jets were back in Israeli airspace when the plane was downed.

The two leaders have spoken at least three times by phone since the incident.

Russia backs President Bashar al-Assad's regime in Syria's civil war, alongside Iran and Hezbollah - arch-enemies of Israel.

Following the plane incident, Moscow announced new security measures to protect its military in Syria, including supplying the Syrian army with S-300 air defence systems and jamming radars of nearby warplanes.

That has sparked concern in Israel that it will be forced to limit its strikes in the neighbouring country, where it has carried out hundreds of raids against what it calls Iranian military targets and advanced arms deliveries to Hezbollah.

Russia and Israel set up a hotline in 2015 to avoid accidental clashes in Syria.

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