Vladimir Putin met at the Kremlin with Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu, who is in Russia on a brief working visit.
Mr Putin and Mr Netanyahu discussed the situation in the Middle East, in particular in Syria, in the context of joint efforts to combat international terrorism, and examined the main areas of bilateral cooperation.
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President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Prime Minister, colleagues, let me wish you a warm welcome to Moscow.
I am very pleased to see that we have such close and trusting contact. We meet regularly in person, are regularly in contact by telephone, and work together at the ministry and agency level.
You often come to Russia right on the eve of holidays, and so I want to take the opportunity to congratulate you on the upcoming Purim holiday and wish everyone in Israel happy holidays and prosperity.
I am very pleased to have this opportunity to discuss with you our bilateral relations and the situation in the region.
Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu (retranslated): Thank you very much, Mr President.
I am pleased to see you again as part of the regular visits that underscore the friendly relations between our countries. We see how our ties continue to develop in the economy, culture, and tourism. Of course, there is also the human bridge between our countries – the million Russian-speaking Israelis (one of them is translating my words right here and now).
In this context, let me say that we have completed the official procedures regarding our pension agreement and strategy. I want to thank you personally for this achievement.
One of the things that unites us is our common fight against radical Islamic terrorism. Substantial progress has been made over the last year in fighting radical Sunni Islamic terrorism led by ISIS and Al-Qaeda, and Russia has made a great contribution to this result and this progress. Of course, we do not want to see Shia Islamic terrorism led by Iran step in to replace Sunni Islamic terrorism.
Thank you for your congratulations on the upcoming Purim holiday. In ancient Persia, an attempt was made to destroy the Jewish people 2,500 years ago, and it failed. This is what this holiday celebrates. Today, ancient Persia’s successor, Iran, continues attempts to destroy the Jewish state. They speak of this openly and write this in black and white in their newspapers.
Today, we have our own country and our army, and we can defend ourselves. But I want to say that the threat of Shia Islamic terror is directed not only against us, but against the region and the entire world. I am sure that we seek to prevent the threat of all radical Islamic terror, no matter whether it is Shia or Sunni.
Once again, let me thank you for the warm reception and for your congratulations.
March 9, 2017, The Kremlin, Moscow