Source: President of Russia – The Kremlin – English
Further development of bilateral cooperation was the subject of discussion.
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President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Prime Minister, colleagues, I would like to warmly welcome you to Russia.
In the beginning of our meeting, I would like to note that we maintain regular contact in almost every area. Last year we recorded a considerable, at least a substantial, growth in trade.
I will say upfront that it is largely due to your efforts that our relations have acquired a new quality in both security and military cooperation issues. We all know how important this is, especially considering the persisting threat from international terrorism.
I have just been to one of Russia’s republics in the North Caucasus, Daghestan. Twenty years ago it faced very dramatic events linked with the invasion of international terrorist groups. So in Russia, we know very well what terrorism is about, and people in Israel also have first-hand knowledge.
I know that you have just had a fairly detailed discussion with the top executives of the Defence Ministry and with Russia’s Defence Minister. We will now discuss everything that concerns this area.
And, of course, we are united by a common approach to the challenges of the past, those of World War II. The Jewish nation suffered probably more than any other with the exception of Russia – we lost 25 million. These are serious losses.
The President of Israel invited me to come to Israel at the beginning of next year in connection with these events, the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz and Holocaust Remembrance Day. Please tell Mr President that I will come to Israel with great pleasure. If possible, we can also unveil a memorial for the victims of the siege of Leningrad that you told me about when you also invited me to this event.
Mr Prime Minister, I know that your country is on the eve of major domestic political events, the elections to Knesset on September 17, I believe. It is common knowledge that over 1.5 million former Soviet citizens live in Israel. We have always considered them our people, our compatriots. Naturally, we are not indifferent as regards future Israeli MPs, let me be straight about this. We are hoping they will be responsible politicians that will certainly maintain all recent achievements in bilateral relations and will move forward with us in developing Russian-Israeli ties.
To be continued.