President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Prime Minister, colleagues,
We are delighted to welcome you to Moscow.
Of course, I have to say a few words about my visit to Israel. I would like to once again thank you personally, because I know that you were among the initiators of the monument to the victims of the Leningrad siege in Jerusalem. The monument is wonderful, you have found a perfect place for it, and, of course, the ceremony was very impressive and emotional.
After that, we attended a major international event to honour the memory of Holocaust victims. Over 40 countries were represented at the highest level. It was a major occasion for Israel and the rest of the world.
Mr Prime Minister, you asked for the release of an Israeli citizen, who was serving a prison term in Russia on drugs charges. I would like to note the role played by the Patriarch of Jerusalem, who had brought me a letter from the young woman’s mother. As you are aware, I have signed an Executive Order pardoning her.
She was lucky in that she had not crossed the Russian border; the drugs were found in her luggage when it was moved from one plane to another. Please, convey my best regards to her, her family and her mother.
We will certainly be able to discuss, even if only briefly, our bilateral relations. Talks on a free trade zone are underway between Israel and the Eurasian Economic Commission. Our bilateral relations are improving in the field of the economy and humanitarian ties. You initiated several areas of our cooperation. They are developing quite actively.
I am delighted to have this opportunity to discuss these areas of our cooperation with you, as well as regional developments.
Welcome to Moscow.
Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu (retranslated): Thank you very much, Mr President.
All our earlier visits and meetings, as well as this visit, symbolise the fact that our relations have become even stronger.
I would like to congratulate you and to thank you for the important statements you made during your visit to Israel. All of us will remember your touching words during the ceremony for inaugurating the monument in honour of residents and defenders of besieged Leningrad. You talked about your family, your personal destiny and the common destiny of those people who survived the siege of Leningrad. After that, you delivered another moving and important speech during the celebration of the 75th anniversary of liberating the Auschwitz concentration camp. We will remember this.
Second, in Israel we touched upon some issues related to our region. We held talks with our American friends, and I can tell you about some things that are linked with this.
Third, I would like to thank you on behalf of the entire Israeli nation for your quick decision to release Naama Issachar. This has touched us all, and the gratitude of all Israeli people comes from the bottom of our hearts.
Mr President, you are the first world leader with whom I am meeting and speaking after my visit to Washington and after the unveiling of the Trump peace plan. I think that we have another special opportunity to talk today, and I would like to hear your opinion and to see how we can gather strength for peace and a conflict-free existence.
I have to say that relations between Israel and Russia are now more solid and better than ever before. Mr President, I would like to thank you for your personal role and for your leadership in this and other areas.