Putin Stresses Respect for Resolution 1701 in Phone Call with Netanyahu

Sunday, 9 December, 2018 - 14:00
Moscow, Tel Aviv - Raed Jaber & Asharq Al-Awsat

Russian President Vladimir Putin stressed in a phone call with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “the importance of ensuring stability in the region in strict accordance with Resolution 1701 of the UN Security Council,” the Kremlin announced on Saturday.

It said that both sides also discussed the operations carried out by the Israeli army on the borders with Lebanon as Putin stressed the importance of preserving stability along the line.

The call coincided with tension on the Lebanese southern border following a military operation carried out by Israel on Tuesday in which it deployed additional troops along the border to “cut off Hezbollah" tunnels.

Israeli forces announced the start of Operation Northern Shield to find and destroy cross-border attack tunnels dug by the Lebanese "Hezbollah".

Israeli soldiers fired in the air because of "heavy fog in the area and the surprise of the Israeli soldiers by a Lebanese army patrol in the Lebanese territory."

Several hours later, the Israeli army issued a statement describing the incident on the border in which "three suspects, apparently Hezbollah activists" tried to approach the "area of technological and engineering works in the enclave under cover of the weather conditions."

Putin emphasized the importance of upcoming consultations between defense experts from the two countries during the conversation, which was held at the initiative of Netanyahu, the Kremlin said.

The Russian Foreign Ministry had earlier expressed concern over developments in the areas of disengagement between Lebanon and Israel.

“Moscow hopes that Israel will not violate international resolutions during its military operation at the border with Lebanon," Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said.

“We do not question Israel’s right to ensure its national security, including by preventing anyone from entering the country,” Zakharova said during a press briefing.

“At the same time, we hope that no actions taken to achieve this purpose will be in conflict with UN Security Council Resolution 1701,” she added.

UN Security Council Resolution 1701 was adopted to end the 2006 war between Lebanon and Israel, calling for both sides to maintain calm along the Blue Line and respect United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), the demilitarized zone originally established by the UN in 1978 to confirm Israel’s withdrawal from Lebanese territory.

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