During the meeting, the leaders discussed issues of bilateral trade, economic and humanitarian cooperation and major international and regional problems, in particular, the situation in Syria and settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
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President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Prime Minister, colleagues,
We have been planning this meeting for some time. Life moves forward and requires consultations at the top level.
Our bilateral trade is increasing. It is not very large in absolute figures but the trends are positive.
And, of course, it is very important to discuss the situation in the region and security issues.
Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu: (In Russian.) Spasibo.
(Retranslated.) First of all, I would like to congratulate you and all Russian people on Defender of the Fatherland Day. We will never forget the great role Russia and the Red Army played in defeating Nazism.
Several days ago our Government adopted a law on special funding to complete the construction of a museum devoted to the liberators of World War II and the bigger part of this museum will be devoted to Red Army soldiers and their role in WWII.
Soon we will open a special monument devoted to the victims of the siege of Leningrad in Jerusalem We would be very happy to see you there, and I would like to invite you, Mr President, to the unveiling ceremony.
Vladimir Putin: Thank you. I will visit.
Benjamin Netanyahu: Mr President, I counted and apparently we have met 11 times since December 2015. I think there is a direct link between us. Our contact is a very important element that has ensured a lack of problems or any clashes, as well as stability and security in our region.
The biggest threat to the region’s stability and security comes from Iran and its allies. We are doing everything we can to prevent this threat from being translated into reality. We will not allow Iran to do what it talks about, that is, to destroy us, and we will act accordingly.
I will be happy to discuss with you these issues and our wonderful bilateral relations. This is largely due to over a million Russian-speaking Israelis that have made a major contribution to the development of Israel and brought Russian culture to our country, which has changed it a lot.
Tourism between our countries has reached record figures: every year over 400,000 Russian citizens visit Israel and about 200,000 Israelis go to Moscow. I also contribute a bit to this statistic.
I would also like to mention many positive things that we have done in our bilateral relations, for example, the pension agreement has already been carried out by 96 percent.
Regarding these areas I would like to thank you for your friendship and the open, straight and honest dialogue that we maintain between our countries.
Thank you very much, Mr President.
Vladimir Putin: Mr Prime Minister, thank you for your invitation, once again.
For us, the memory of the people who perished during World War II, including during the siege of Leningrad, is absolutely sacred like it is for the Jewish people.
And, of course, I would like to pay tribute to the Israelis – 1.5 million descendants from the former Soviet Union made a substantial contribution not only to the development of Israel but also to the birth of the Israeli statehood and are now playing a very important role as a bridge between Russia and Israel.
We not only remember them but we also appreciate the role they play today. Of course, Israel is their home country, obviously, but we also call them our compatriots.