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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Mrs Sara Netanyahu arrive in Moscow on state visit

08 June, 2016

  Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Mrs Sara Netanyahu arrive in Moscow on state visit

PM Benjamin Netanyahu and Mrs Sara Netanyahu arrive in Moscow on state visit commemorating 25 years of Israel-Russia relations

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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu lays a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Moscow

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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara visited the special joint Foreign Ministry-Strategic Affairs Ministry interactive "Open a Door to Israel" exhibit at Moscow's main Manege exhibition hall.

Prime Minister Netanyahu:
"Thank you for the welcome.
We certainly feel at home. Israel's doors are open to Russia and Russia's doors are open to Israel.
We are marking 25 years since the resumption of relations between us, and not only in culture and technology, but in so many other fields as well. All of these things are being shown here in this innovative exhibit. But there is also a human bridge of over one million Russian-speakers who are our bone and our flesh, but who also come as goodwill ambassadors of a deep sympathy, Israeli citizens who emigrated from the former USSR. Those who were born and raised in the country absorbed much Russian culture and music. We have just come from the moving ceremony for the unknown soldier and the tunes that were heard are tunes that we remember from our childhood; thus, there are bonds of sympathy and empathy between Israel and Russia, with a common past that has tragic chapters for both peoples, but also a very strong willingness to grasp and develop the future and move forward in creating a better future.
My wife and I and our entire delegation are very moved to be here and it is an honor to dedicate this exhibit on this occasion, 25 years since the resumption of relations."

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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held a lengthy working meeting this afternoon at the Kremlin with Russian President Vladimir Putin. They discussed a large number of issues including Syria and other regional issues pertaining to the national security of both countries.

The two leaders discussed the continuation of regional coordination between their respective militaries, which has worked very well up until now. They also discussed agricultural issues (milk production with the assistance of Israeli technologies), the pensions agreement that was signed between the two countries, tourism, health, the manufacture of medicines and other issues.
Prime Minister Netanyahu told Russian President Putin that he appreciated his efforts on the pensions issue.

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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued the following statement at the joint press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin:

"President Putin, I would like to thank you for the hospitality in Moscow and here in the Kremlin. We have just concluded a comprehensive and effective working meeting for the benefit of both countries. We signed several important bilateral agreements in energy, agriculture, and pensions and social insurance rights. This is an asset. I would like to thank you for your cooperation on all of these and in other fields in which we are moving forward toward cooperation that you did well to define in your remarks.

Today we are celebrating 25 years since the resumption of diplomatic relations between the two countries. I remember those days, those first years and what preceded them. I was at a meeting between Yitzhak Shamir and Andrei Gromyko in New York. Since then our relations have developed systematically and at an increasing pace; this visit, of course, is a milestone.

There was a strong bridge for the resumption of relations and the strength of feeling between the two peoples. We will never forget the role of the Russian people and the Red Army in its effort in the east, in tandem with the efforts in the west, to defeat the Nazis. The memorial in Netanya is a concrete and tangible expression of this historical memory. But it was a living bridge in the form of over a million of our citizens who came from the former USSR, Russian speakers from birth, and they truly are splendid ambassadors between our two countries.

Today we marked the first 25 years of the resumption of relations but we focused mainly on looking forward to the next 25 years. We are cooperating in the fields of technology, innovation and high-tech, in economic matters, trade, tourism and culture – we will soon see a living expression of this at this evening's performance – and in many other areas.

Today we decided that there should be focal points of cooperation. Two representatives will be responsible for links regarding innovation and technology between Israel and Russia. I have also expressed my appreciation that not far from here is a Russian government supported institute for the study of the Hebrew language. I also expressed the hope that one day the number of Hebrew speakers in Russia will reach the number of Russian speakers in Israel. This will take a little time but it expresses the growing link between us.

The future is open to us but we also spoke about the present. We discussed the future of coordination between our militaries in the region, which has worked very well, in preventing confrontations and in ensuring that we work against the same elements that endanger us all. And indeed we spoke at length about our common challenges, those of all civilized countries, such as radical Islam and the terrorism that it spreads.

Mr. President, the fact that you acceded to my request and that of the IDF Chief-of-Staff to return to Israel the tank from the Battle of Sultan Yacoub attests to the strength of our bilateral relations. This is a humanitarian gesture of the highest order for the families of the MIAs from this battle who for decades have had no grave to visit. We are not abandoning our MIAs and we will continue to look for what happened to them and bring them back home but at this time I would like to thank you on behalf of myself, the people of Israel and the families for this important gesture. It touches our hearts.

I would like to again express my appreciation for the special and moving welcome that you prepared for me, my wife and the members of our delegation. Our faces are toward the future. Thank you very much."

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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made the following remarks at an event this evening at the Bolshoi Theater in Moscow to mark the 25th anniversary of the resumption of diplomatic relations between Israel and Russia:

"We are threatened by the forces of barbarism. They threaten every enlightened society on earth. They cut off heads and destroy cultural treasures. We know that we need to unite in order to save human civilization from them. We spoke about this at length and here as well our partnership stems from that same basic and deep link of common values.

I would like to thank you again for the major role you have taken upon yourself in strengthening ties between our two countries. I am certain that in another 25 years when they look back they will remember this evening as a milestone between Russia and Israel."

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 Photo: Haim Zach, GPO