Israel’s new PM to meet with Putin in Sochi, Russia

TEL AVIV, Israel (AP) — Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett will for the first time as premier meet Russian President Vladimir Putin later this month, with Iran at the top of the agenda.

Bennett will travel Oct. 22 to meet Putin in the seaside resort city of Sochi, Russia, to discuss political, security and economic issues, including the Iran nuclear program. Israel and Russia have long kept the diplomatic door open.

The two countries operate a military hotline to coordinate air force operations over Syria to avoid clashes. Israel often attacks Iranian-linked targets in Syria, while Russia has provided support to the Syrian government.

Russia also is one of the international parties that negotiated a 2015 nuclear deal with Iran. The deal fell apart after then-President Donald Trump withdrew in 2018. But the new U.S. administration is now trying to revive the deal with other international powers — a step that Israel opposes.

Bennett’s predecessor, Benjamin Netanyahu, met many times with Putin.

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