Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke in Paris on Sunday with Russian President Vladimir Putin, in what was the first face-to-face meeting between the two leaders since Moscow indirectly blamed Israel for the downing of a Russian military plane off the coast of Syria in September.
Netanyahu and Putin were in the French capital for commemorations of the 100th anniversary of the armistice that ended World War I.
The Israeli prime minister told reporters that Sunday’s exchange with Putin was “good and to the point, and I would even say that it was very important.”
According to media reports, Netanyahu had been attempting to arrange a meeting with the Russian president since the Sept. 17 incident over the Mediterranean Sea, near Latakia.
Netanyahu and Putin have met in person and talked by phone numerous times since Russia’s military intervention in Syria on behalf of the Assad regime began in 2015.
Israel and Russia have tried to maintain coordination between their militaries. In recent years, the Israeli Air Force has carried out hundreds of strikes in Syria against targets tied to Iran and its Shi’a terror proxy Hezbollah.
In the past few weeks, there have been reports that Russia was seeking to limit Israel’s freedom of action in the region.
Ahead of his flight to France on Saturday night, Netanyahu said, “We are departing to a very important ceremony to mark the centennial of the end of World War I, a bloody war, which claimed the lives of millions.”
“It was also very important to the history of our people,” he continued. “First of all, the fact that there were hundreds of thousands of Jewish fighters, which marked the next turning point in our ability to defend ourselves, and, of course it brought to an end the Ottoman Empire that ruled our land, and paved the way for Zionism.”
“I will meet dozens of leaders from around the world, and I will have a separate meeting with [French] President [Emmanuel] Macron,” Netanyahu went on to say. “There are many important issues that need to be discussed, but the very essence of being there is important. I, as usual, will represent the State of Israel with great pride.”