Mr Putin and Mr Netanyahu exchanged views on developing bilateral relations and on the situation in the Middle East.
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President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Prime Minister, colleagues,
I wish you all a warm welcome to Russia.
I am pleased to see that we have developed effective cooperation mechanisms, including at the top level. We hold regular and urgent meetings when the circumstances call for our direct involvement, and discuss bilateral relations and the situation in the region.
Let me start today by saying that we are happy with the state of our bilateral relations, which have developed in part through your direct efforts, Mr Prime Minister.
We are very pleased to see you. Welcome.
Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu (retranslated): Mr President,
Thank you for this meeting. It is important for Israel and for Russia.
I want to take the opportunity too to thank you for the pension agreement between our countries, which is a help for citizens of both countries, and for your personal decision to help World War II veterans, Soviet army veterans, living in Israel.
Vladimir Putin: This is a sacred matter.
Benjamin Netanyahu: We, and I personally, will never forget the historic role that Russia and the Soviet army played in defeating Nazism. We say this everywhere, at all venues. We recently declared this in the Israeli Knesset.
Mr President, you know well that it is for this reason that I took the initiative in my time of erecting a monument in the town of Netanya to the liberator soldiers of the Soviet army, and you took part in that monument’s unveiling.
In this context, Israel cannot have objections to Russia’s participation in the important project at former concentration camp Sobibor. The Soviet officer of Jewish origin who led the famous uprising at Sobibor is naturally celebrated as a national hero in Russia and in Israel.
Mr President, we have been meeting over these last years, not only to discuss our bilateral relations but also to examine the situation in the Middle East, where developments have been happening at a rapid pace of late.
Iran is making tremendous efforts to bolster its presence in Syria. This is a threat for Israel, for the Middle East, and, I believe, for the entire world. Iran has also made serious advances in extending its control and influence in Iraq and Yemen. In many respects, it is Iran that exercises real control in Lebanon today.
Mr President, we are fighting and defeating ISIS through common efforts, and this is very important. But what is worrying is that where we defeat ISIS and it disappears, Iran steps in. We must not forget for an instant that Iran continues to threaten Israel’s destruction every single day. It arms terrorist organisations and encourages and initiates terrorism.