Israel’s foreign ministry on Wednesday summoned Russian ambassador Anatoly Viktorov over the remarks he made to media that was perceived as undermining the “regional threat” of Iran.
In an interview with the Israeli daily The Jerusalem Post, Viktorov said that “Iran does not destabilize the Middle East but the Israel-Arab conflict does”.
He added that Tehran is not the main force behind regional instability, rather “it’s a lack of understanding between countries and non-compliance with UN resolutions in the Israel-Arab and Israel-Palestinian conflict”, likely referring to Israel.
— The Jerusalem Post (@Jerusalem_Post) December 9, 2020
He then went onto claim that the Iran-backed Lebanese movement Hezbollah is not a threat to Israel.
“Israel is attacking Hezbollah, Hezbollah is not attacking Israel,” Viktorov said.
He also argued that there was “no proof” Hezbollah created the tunnels Israel claims to have uncovered, along its northern border with Lebanon.
Israel Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi spoke out against the remarks when asked about them in a press conference on Wednesday.
Israel destabilises the Middle East more than Iran, Anatoly Viktorov, Russian Ambassador to Israel said on Tuesday.
[Via The Jerusalem Post] pic.twitter.com/2peGAqb2wF
— BT NEWS (@belltimesng) December 8, 2020
“I think it was made clear beyond all doubt that Israel does not accept these statements, and thus I hope we will bring an end to such embarrassing and unacceptable statements between us and Russia, and in general,” Ashkenazi said.
The Russian ambassador said that some of his remarks were misquoted and he intends to issue a letter for clarification, the Israeli foreign ministry said. However, The Jerusalem Post said it stands by its reporting.
(Al-Araby Al-Jadeed, PC, Social Media)