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Did Benjamin Netanyahu Suggest Cutting Deal With Russia on Syria?

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu urged John Kerry to talk to Russia about a deal to destroy Syria’s stockpile of chemical weapons.

The Wall Street Journal, citing American and Middle Eastern officials briefed on the exchange, reported Monday that Netanyahu and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry spoke about the issue on Sept. 11.

During the conversation, according to the newspaper, Netanyahu said he believed Russia wasn’t bluffing and that a deal was possible. Israel also shared U.S. concerns that military strikes on Syria in retaliation for its alleged use of chemical weapons against its own citizens would strengthen the Syrian rebels, who are linked to Al-Qaida, and would allow them to take possession of Syria’s chemical weapons.

The U.S. and Russia agreed on a deal over the weekend. Under the deal, Syria would provide a full account of its chemical weapons stockpile within a week, and the arsenal would be destroyed”in the soonest and safest manner,” according to the State Department. The agreement followed three days of talks in Geneva.

Kerry and Netanyahu met Sunday in Jerusalem to discuss the deal. Kerry said following the meeting that the agreement “will only be as efficient as its implementation will be” and that “President Obama has made it clear that to accomplish that, the threat of force remains.”

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