Russian, Israeli Intelligence Chiefs Meet, Talk Intl Security Issues In Moscow

The Russian and Israeli senior intelligence chiefs met in Moscow on Friday to discuss international security issues, according to Anadolu Agency.

According to a statement made after the meeting, Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev and Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency head Yossi Cohen also addressed the ongoing crisis in the Middle East.

The official announcement of the Mossad chief’s visit is unusual considering that his trips abroad are usually made secretly. It is possible that the statement was made due to the close ties between Patrushev and Cohen, who had previously served as national security adviser at the Israeli prime minister’s bureau.

Two weeks ago Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited Moscow and met with Putin. A few days later, the two leaders spoke on the phone.

The main arena in which Israel and Russia are cooperating these days is the war in Syria. Both countries are trying to coordinate their military activities to avoid any encounters between their respective air forces and navies amid the Russian army’s activities in war-torn Syria. Nonetheless, Israel is very concerned about the possible results of the civil war in Syria, fearing Hezbollah will have control and influence over Syria the day after the war ends.

After months of strained ties over Turkey shooting down a Russian fighter jet that violated its airspace last November, Russia Thursday lifted a ban on tourist flights to Turkey following a telephone conversation between President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

In addition, Turkey announced earlier this week that it had signed an agreement to normalize relations with Israel more than six years after Israeli troops stormed a Gaza-bound aid flotilla Mavi Marmara in international waters, killing 10 Turkish citizens.