Israel gives lukewarm welcome to future Syria 'principles'

Israeli officials are giving a lukewarm reaction to an agreement laying out principles for the future of Syria.

The agreement, announced in a U.S.-Russian statement Saturday, affirms a call for "the reduction, and ultimate elimination" of foreign fighters from southern Syria.

Israel opposes any permanent presence in Syria by archenemy Iran and its Hezbollah allies, especially near the Israeli border.

Israeli Intelligence Minister Israel Katz told The Associated Press the agreement is a positive development. But he stressed that Israel is not a party to the agreement and will defend its interests.

"We have proved that before and we will prove it again in the future," Katz said.

While largely staying on the sidelines of the Syrian war, Israel has carried out repeated airstrikes against suspected weapons shipments to Hezbollah.