(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)

Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert today (Tuesday, 28 February 2006), held consultations with senior Foreign Ministry and National Security Council officials and others on the overall state of Israeli-Russian relations.

Acting PM Olmert said that Russia is an important country, that bilateral relations are important, and that ways must be found both to improve them and to enhance the understandings between the two countries.

Olmert said that in recent days he has received positive messages regarding bilateral relations from Russian President Vladimir Putin and added that he intends to advance and tighten his personal dialogue with the Russian president. He recalled that he and President Putin have met several times and said that the latter is a friend of Israel who would not act against Israel’s interests.

The prime minister asserted that Israel has an interest in improving relations with Russia and in enhancing the ongoing bilateral dialogue on all levels, in order to reach common understandings.