November 11, 2018 / 3:24 PM / a month ago

Netanyahu calls Paris conversation with Putin 'very important'

Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu arrives for a lunch at the Elysee Palace in Paris as part of the commemoration ceremony for Armistice Day, 100 years after the end of the First World War, France, November 11, 2018. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer

PARIS (Reuters) - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin at World War One commemorations on Sunday, their first meeting since the downing of a Russian plane during an Israeli air raid in Syria in September.

“The conversation with President Putin was good and businesslike. I would even describe it as very important,” Netanyahu told reporters after the ceremony in Paris, adding that he also spoke there with U.S. President Donald Trump.

Moscow said last month it had delivered S-300 surface-to-air missiles to Syria, where Israel has struck Iranian targets.

The missile shipment came after Russia, a main backer of the Damascus government, accused Israel of indirectly causing the downing of a Russian military jet by Syrian air defences following an Israeli air strike nearby.

Netanyahu, speaking to reporters on Sunday, also said he favoured reaching an “arrangement” that would avoid an all out war with Gaza and stave off a deepening humanitarian crisis.

On Friday, Israel allowed $15 million of Qatari cash to enter the Gaza Strip, which is controlled by the Islamist Hamas movement. Egypt, Qatar and the United Nations have been trying to broker a long-term cease fire between Hamas and Israel.

Writing by Dan Williams. Editing by Jane Merriman

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