Moscow: Netanyahu’s plans could lead to ‘sharp escalation of tensions’

Russian foreign ministry said it was concerned over the Israeli leadership’s plan. (File photo: Reuters)

Russia warned on Wednesday that Benjamin Netanyahu’s pledge to annex the West Bank’s Jordan Valley could escalate tensions as the Israeli Prime Minister geared up to hold talks with President Vladimir Putin.

The Russian foreign ministry said it was concerned over the Israeli leadership’s plan, saying its implementation could lead to a “sharp escalation of tensions in the region (and) undermine hopes for the establishment of long-awaited peace between Israel and its Arab neighbours.”

Moscow pointed out that Netanyahu’s pre-election pledge drew a “sharp negative reaction” in the Arab world and reiterated its call for direct talks between Israel and Palestinians.

On Thursday, Netanyahu plans to travel to the Russian resort of Sochi for talks with Putin as he fights to continue his reign as the country’s longest-serving prime minister.

“The leaders will discuss regional issues including the situation in Syria, with an emphasis on tightening the military coordination mechanisms,” Netanyahu’s office said on Wednesday.

Earlier on Wednesday, Saudi Arabia condemned and rejected Netanyahu’s pledge to annex West Bank’s Jordan Valley if re-elected on September 17.

“The Kingdom affirms that this declaration is a very dangerous escalation against the Palestinian people and represents a flagrant violation of the UN charter and the principles of international law,” the official Saudi Press Agency said, citing the royal court.

Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 10:00 - GMT 07:00