PM Netanyahu meets with Russian PM Putin in Moscow

 

Photo: Office of the Prime Minister of Russia

[Translated from Russian and Hebrew – view original language video]

PM Putin: Dear Mr. Prime Minister, dear colleagues, we are glad to welcome you to Moscow.

Israel is our long-term partner in the Middle East. We say again and again that there are over one million Russian citizens living in your country. Israel is almost a Russian-speaking country. We are very glad to see you. We maintain ongoing contacts with you on the issues of a Middle East settlement. Our economic relations are also going well. In 2008, we reached a turnover of almost 2 billion. Unfortunately, it dropped off a bit in 2009. But the prospects are good. We need to diversify our relations in the field of high-tech and also in agriculture.

With regard to agriculture, lots of products from Israel are available in our market. We are ready to do our best to promote your products in the  future. Your Ministry of Agriculture will have more money, and we are hoping that it will move to another building.

We are grateful for your decision on the Sergei Courtyard. It’s an important sign of you good attitude toward Russia.

Welcome!

PM Netanyahu: Thank you very much Mr. Prime Minister. I must say that we view Russia as a special friend of Israel. Part of our success story in recent decades stems from our special Russian connection, from the "human bridge" of more than a million Russian speaking Israeli citizens who are connected to the Russian culture and admire Russia. They have "infected" all of us with it. Although even before that, there were common sources of culture and heritage, from those who came from Russian and Russian speaking countries. So there is a very natural connection.

But there is no doubt that as we are going to be celebrating twenty years of diplomatic relations between our countries next year, we are seeing a constant improvement and increase in the level of those relations. I remember, when I was ambassador to the UN, that I was involved in the first contacts, and I see what is happening now. I think we are facing the celebration of a unique relationship, which we want to make even closer in a tangible manner. Russia is a world power in every sense. Israel is a world power in technology, and cooperation between us can yield excellent results for both of us. And I welcome your intention and desire to place that on a tangible footing, with regard to both traditional technology and agricultural technology and biotechnology.

Mr. Prime Minister, next year we will be marking not only twenty years in our relations but also the 65th anniversary of the victory over the Nazis. No one can deny the Holocaust and its victims, and the toll it took on the Jewish people, even though there is someone who is trying to do so. No one can deny the decisive role played by Russia, the Red Army and the Russian people in the victory over the Nazis. I would like to set in motion a process that will express that in an official memorial, which the State of Israel will establish in honor of the great contribution made by the soldiers of the Red Army to the victory over the Nazis. I want to do this and hope that it can be implemented in time for your visit to the State of Israel. And maybe we will be able to celebrate both of them – the Sergei Courtyard and the official opening of the memorial at the time of your visit. That is another reason to welcome the opportunity to see you here, and the opportunity to welcome you to the State of Israel.

PM Putin: Thank you. We’ve recently discussed the creation of a Holocaust Museum in Moscow with the Chief Rabbi. I was deeply impressed by my visit to your museum when I was in Israel. This is a private initiative, but the government will assist the organizers and initiators of this idea. Victims of Nazism must not be forgotten. The Jewish people and the peoples of the Soviet Union suffered the most in that war. Remembering such tragedies to prevent them in future is our duty to those who were killed and to the generations to come.