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US Seeking Russia's Help to Boot Iran from Syria - Report

06-06-2019

JERUSALEM, Israel - The United States is seeking Russia's help in removing Iran from Syria during next month's meeting in Jerusalem between top Israeli, US, and Russian leaders, Reuters reports.

An anonymous senior official in the Trump administration told reporters on Tuesday that the meeting is an "unprecedented diplomatic opportunity." He said the goal was to "to see how we can potentially work together to get rid of the primary irritant in the Middle East, which is the Islamic Republic of Iran."

The White House announced the meeting in a brief statement last week.

US National Security Advisor John Bolton, Israeli National Security Adviser Meir Ben-Shabbat and Nikolai Patrushev, Secretary of the Russian Security Council, will attend the talks.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said last week that such a meeting "has never taken place before in Israel. Never."

US and Israel aren't only focused on booting Iran from Syria. They want to see Iran gone in surrounding Muslim countries.

"We would hope to make the point in conjunction with the Israelis that we don't see any positive role for the Iranians - and that would extend beyond Syria, to Lebanon, to Iraq, to Yemen - other places where they're active," the U.S. official said.

"And if the Russians recognize that fact, I think we will be very pleased with that outcome."

Israel's Kan public broadcaster reported Sunday that Israel and the US will offer incentives to Russia at the summit in an effort to oppose Iran.

Russia has been a faithful ally of Iran and the Assad regime, while the US and Israel are unequivocally opposed to Iran's influence in the region.

However, the official told reporters that Russian leaders' willingness to meet with Israel and the US in Jerusalem is encouraging.

"The fact that the Russians see value in these conversations, that they're willing to do it publicly, I think is in and of itself quite significant," the official said. "And so we are hopeful that they're coming to the meeting with some fresh proposals that will allow us to make progress."

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