Beginning of Meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert 2008-10-07 19:41:32 The Kremlin, Moscow President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: Dear Mr Prime Minister! I would like to welcome you to the Kremlin once again. We agreed to meet quite a long time ago and we now have the opportunity to do so. I think this is very useful in order to continue the autumn series of consultations according to tradition for Russian-Israeli dialogue. I am confident that this tradition will continue in the future. Our relations are developing very well and consistently. I think that this development represents a key factor, including in sensitive issues such as a Middle Eastern settlement. And I would like to say at once that Russia will continue to play a constructive and active role in this process. This is in our interests. And I think that today we talk about all issues concerning Russian-Israeli cooperation and international issues, including those relating to a settlement. With regards to our bilateral relations, they have a strong economic foundation (I hope this basis will develop further) and we have good humanitarian projects, and in this regard I would like to thank the government of Israel for its decision to transfer the St. Sergius Metochion compound to the Russian Federation. Thank you again! We are pleased to welcome you to Moscow. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert: Mr President! Thank you very much! I am very pleased to be in Russia. This is our first actual meeting. We had a few telephone conversations before and after you were elected president. And I am very much looking forward to a fruitful dialogue. Our relations with Russia are very important. Russia is a global power. And the decisions that Russia, a global power, makes on regional and global issues are extremely important for everyone, including Israel. I am convinced that today we will be able to discuss bilateral topics that concern Israel and Russia as well as successful negotiations that allow us to return full ownership of the St. Sergius Metochion compound to the Russian Federation. This might seem like a small step but is nevertheless very symbolic: this place symbolises Russia's connection to the land of Israel. And I am glad that I have managed to fulfill the promise that my predecessor, Ariel Sharon, made to Vladimir Putin. I would like to invite you to come to Jerusalem and visit this beautiful compound. I am sure that you would enjoy it. Dmitry Medvedev: I have not been to Jerusalem for quite a while and I would very much like to see it.