Russian Ambassador to Lebanon Alexander Zasypkin said, in a November 9 Mayadeen TV interview, that while "we are not against discussing the presence of armed forces [near the border]... the issue of Iranian and Hizbullah [presence near the border] was never on the agenda." Ambassador Zaypkin added that the entire issue has been exaggerated and that the "war on terror" must be completed first.
Host: "Mr. Ambassador, let's be realistic. The ideal solution for this region, which is demanded by Israel and its allies – the U.S. and perhaps some other countries – is to have the Iranians and Hizbullah distanced to some 30-40 kilometers from the border – along the border of the Golan Heights, through the Jordanian border, and all the way to Lebanon. This resembles the removal of Egyptian forces from the Sinai Peninsula, since the Camp David Accords. In other words, this means the creation of a security zone along the border. Will Russia mediate the resumption of the Israeli-Syrian peace process, after the end of the war?"
Alexander Zasypkin: "There is a need for security arrangements, and this is indeed happening now. Until there is a complete settlement in Syria, there will be de-escalation zones, and so on. Therefore, we are not against discussing the presence of armed forces [near the border]. But the issue of Iranian and Hizbullah [presence near the Israeli border] was never on the agenda. We know full well how the conflict in Syria began, who started this conflict, who fought back, and why Syria's allies came to Syria. Therefore, this issue has been greatly exaggerated. The [Israelis] believe that this has become the key issue that needs to be resolved. This is not the case. We want to complete the war on terror, and then complete the arrangements on this basis. The return of Syria's allies to their countries is another issue altogether."