March 25, 2011 (KATAKAMI.COM / KREMLIN.RU) — Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday discussed bilateral relations between the two states and the situation in the Middle East and North Africa.
At the start of the meeting, the Russian President expressed his condolences to the families of those killed in Jerusalem terrorist attack on March 23.
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PRESIDENT OF RUSSIA DMITRY MEDVEDEV: Mr Prime Minister, it is a great pleasure to see you again and welcome you here in Moscow.
First of all I would like to express our condolences in connection with the terrorist attack which took place yesterday in Jerusalem. Unfortunately, innocent people have been affected in this case, as in other similar situations, and this should strengthen our resolve to combat terrorism through joint efforts.
We have firsthand knowledge of the dangers posed by terrorism. Unfortunately, Russia, too, has been hit by terrorist attacks this year. That makes our meeting today especially valuable because the main thing is that we must not let the terrorists believe that they are close to achieving their atrocious goals.
We have a great deal to discuss. It has been a long time since our last meeting and great many events have taken place since then, especially in the Middle East and North Africa. The changes taking place there are truly tectonic and cannot but affect the overall situation, which we should discuss as partners.
Naturally, we will also review the Middle East peace process, just as we always do. I have a few things to say on this topic. I am sure that you will share your thoughts as well, because we have not seen any positive developments recently. Let’s see how all these events affect the opportunities for compromise.
We could also discuss issues pertaining to our bilateral relations, which have been developing well on the whole, but perhaps we could give an additional impetus to Russian-Israeli relations.
PRIME MINISTER OF ISRAEL BENJAMIN NETANYAHU (re-translated): Thank you, Mr President.
Indeed, we have not met for quite a long time but we have spoken on the telephone. I agree, it was not only New Zealand and Japan that were hit by earthquake, as well as a storm and a tsunami, but the Middle East and North Africa as well.
After the fire which occurred in the north of our country, you sent brave and skilled pilots to assist us. We were all truly impressed by their work. I thanked you then, but I would like to use this opportunity to express my gratitude once again for your sympathy and help. Now we have to put out several other “fires”.
No one knows how the events currently unfolding in the Middle East and the rest of the Muslim world will end. I am confident that our common aspiration is to have stable, progressive governments committed to promoting peace. But there is a danger – a danger for Israel, Russia and all of humankind – that radical Islamic regimes will spring up, posing a threat to our countries and the entire world.
We can already see one such regime – in Iran, a regime that is a threat, that is seeking to develop nuclear weapons and is constantly trying to derail efforts to conclude peaceful agreements. Our goal is to stop evil and to promote good. I would be glad to discuss with you ways to move towards peace and achieve security in our region.
I am sure that we need to further develop our cooperation in every sector. There are still many areas for joint efforts. (*)