President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: Mr Prime Minister,
I am pleased to have this chance to meet with you to discuss our bilateral relations with Israel, and of course talk too about current international issues, especially the Middle East peace process, and look at the situation in the world today in general. I think this is all the more important given that Israel is more than just a partner in the ordinary sense for us, but is a country with whom we are bound by longstanding relations and with whom we share much in common in terms of the nature and makeup of our populations.
Another matter I wanted to bring up during our talks today is that this year is significant in that we will be celebrating the sixty-fifth anniversary of victory over Nazism. This is our common victory. I think the celebrations should take place at the highest level. In this respect, as I understand it, we will also approve a declaration today on the sixty-fifth anniversary of victory celebrations.
This is important in order to preserve for all time the memory of these events in the chronicles of history and prevent people from taking liberties with and falsifying the account of what actually happened. This is important for Russia, important for Israel, and important for the entire world.
Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu: Let me speak English…
Dmitry Medvedev: It’s up to you. As you wish.
Benjamin Netanyahu: …I brought my Minister, who is a native Russian speaker, Mr Edelstein, and our faction leader Mr Elkin. And they are teaching me Russian as we go along.
I am delighted to see you, Mr President, delighted to be here in Moscow. And delighted with your hospitality.
Perhaps I’ll start with what you’ve ended with. Because I think in many ways it’s the most fundamental element of our relationship, our past brings us to our present and guides us, gives us a foundation to go to the future. You spoke correctly about the need to recognise Russia’s extraordinary contribution in saving mankind against the Nazi tyranny. We know it very well.
We know it because of our combined history, and the fact that we have over a million Russian speakers many of whom fought in that same Great War, and we know the heroism and sacrifice of the Russian people which is unimaginable. Unimaginable. We appreciate it. In many ways we are part of it. We are part of it in two ways: one, in defeating the tyranny, and two, in suffering the consequences of this mad ideology.
You correctly say that there are people who wish to distort what happened in the Second World War. This applies both to the combatants and also to the victims. There is a widespread denial of the Holocaust. And this should be combated as firmly as any distortion of the history of the Second World War. It’s not just an argument of history, it’s an argument about the present and the future.
And I believe that on this we see eye to eye, and on many other things as well. I look forward to strengthening our mutual relations in every field. I look forward to seeing how we can advance peace, and helping advance peace means helping roll back the enemies of peace.
And they are around, strengthening themselves and arming themselves. And advancing peace, advancing our mutual relations and rolling back those who destroy peace and threaten the stability of the Middle East and the world is something I very much look forward to discussing with you. I appreciate the new relationship that we have forged over the last two decades. It’s very important for both of our countries. I think it’s very important for the world. Thank you, Mr President.