During their talks, Vladimir Putin and Benjamin Netanyahu exchanged opinions on current aspects of bilateral cooperation, including security, and key issues of the global and regional agendas such as prospects for a Palestinian-Israeli settlement and the situation in Syria.
Earlier this week, Mr Putin met with President of the State of Palestine Mahmoud Abbas in the Kremlin to discuss the Middle East peace process.
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Beginning of meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Prime Minister, I would like to welcome you in Moscow.
It is very good that we maintain regular contacts at such a high level. Last month, we had the pleasure of receiving the Israeli President here.
I think there are understandable reasons for these intensive contacts, given the complicated situation in the region. This year, we mark the 25th anniversary of the restoration of our diplomatic relations.
Let me begin this meeting today by congratulating you on the upcoming holiday of Passover.
Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu (retranslated): Thank you.
Vladimir Putin: Welcome!
Benjamin Netanyahu: Mr President, thank you for this warm welcome. I greatly value our regular cooperation, Mr President.
I have come here with the sole concrete objective of strengthening the coordination between our countries in the security area, so as to avoid mistakes, misunderstandings or incidents.
At our previous meetings, I presented our policy on the security of our northern borders. Israel has clear and understandable ‘red lines’ related to our security.
First, we are doing everything we can to ensure that Hezbollah does not get its hands on the ultramodern weapons coming in from Syria and Iraq.
Second, we are doing all we can to prevent the emergence of a new terror front against us on the Golan Heights. This is the ‘red line’ we have set and we will continue to insist on this. Regarding the Golan Heights, we cannot go back to the days when our villages and our children came under fire from there. Therefore, with or without an agreement, the Golan Heights will remain part of Israel’s sovereign territory.
This visit also gives us the chance to discuss bilateral relations, which, as you said, have been developing actively over these past 25 years.
I would particularly like to thank you for your personal contribution to the agreement on pensions, which is now close to its final signing. This is a big issue at the human level, and we value your personal involvement in settling this matter.
I would like to thank you for your congratulations on Passover. This is a holiday symbolising our freedom. Tomorrow, all Jewish people will sit down at the Passover table, and this includes the more than 1 million Russian-speaking Israelis who form a living link, a bridge between our peoples.
I would like to congratulate Jewish people in Russia and throughout the world on Passover and wish them a happy holiday.
Once more, I thank you for your friendship, which is very important for developing relations between our countries and peoples.
Vladimir Putin: It is noteworthy that the Israeli Prime Minister, speaking here at the Kremlin, has congratulated not just Russia’s Jewish community but Jewish people around the world.
Benjamin Netanyahu: Thank you very much.