Putin to Netanyahu: I hope whoever is elected will maintain our friendship

Warmly greeting Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu at his Sochi summer residence on Thursday, Russian President Vladimir Putin said: “It is extremely important to us who is elected to the next Knesset and we hope they will maintain the friendship between our nations and further strengthen our relationship.” He went on to say: “We know that a million and a half Soviet Union repatriates live in Israel. We have always treated them as our people”  Putin referred to Netanyahu’s earlier conversation with Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu as excellent, adding “We are looking forward to continue this in further discussions.”

Netanyahu responded that their bond had prevented unnecessary and dangerous frictions between the two armies. “I can say unreservedly that it is a fundamental component of regional stability. I value your assertion that Israeli security is important to you and this has come to the fore at our meetings. Security coordination between is always important, but especially now, in the light of the past month’s very serious escalation in the number and scope of Iranian attempts to harm us from Syrian territory and transfer precise missiles to that country.” Netanyahu stressed: “We won’t tolerate that threat, we are reacting, and so any friction between us must be avoided.” At the end of his three-hour conversation with the Russian President, the prime minister left Sochi and returned home.

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