Stories

U.S. to use summit in Jerusalem to press Russia on Iranian presence in Syria

John Bolton shaking hands with Netanyahu
Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu with national security adviser John Bolton. Photo: Kobi Gideon/GPO via Getty Images

A senior White House official said in a conference call with reporters that the U.S. plans to stress to Russia during its trilateral national security advisers summit in Jerusalem this month that Iranian forces and their proxies have to leave Syria.

Why it matters: The trilateral meeting between the national security advisers of Israel, the U.S. and Russia in late June is an unprecedented event. The White House official said the main focus of the summit will be Syria and Iran's activities in Syria, Lebanon and the rest of the region.

  • Israel wants to use the summit to push the U.S. and Russia closer together in order to get a deal on Syria that would push Iranian forces out of the country.
  • The White House official said that the U.S. and Israel are waiting to hear what proposals Russia will bring to the meeting.

National security adviser John Bolton is going to stress during the summit that Iran is not playing any positive role in Syria or the region as a whole, according to the official. The official added that the Trump administration is very concerned with Iranian actions in Syria and supports Israeli airstrikes against Iranian military entrenchment in the country.

"We are sure the Iranians are not happy that this meeting is taking place and that the Israelis are publicly hosting the Americans and the Russians together in Jerusalem to talk about Iran. The fact the Russians are attending this meeting is important in itself."
— Senior White House official

Go deeper: U.S. tells Russia it backs Israeli airstrikes in Syria as long as Iran stays