Russia is keen to see a satisfactory political and territorial conclusion to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Sergey Naryshkin, the chairman of the Russian State Duma told President Shimon Peres on Wednesday. Naryshkin who was most recently in Israel in January when he represented his country at the funeral of former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, is currently in Israel with a large parliamentary delegation.
Naryshkin said that it would be good not only for the Israelis and the Palestinians if they could settle their differences, but also for the entire region.
Aside from the usual bilateral issues that involve the strengthening of bilateral ties at various levels, Naryshkin is in Israel to drum up support for preserving historical truth.
The Jews and the Russians suffered heavy casualties at the hands of the Nazis during the Second World, he said, and the truth of what happened then must be preserved and disseminated. One of the things he wants to do is to form a representative group or organization for this purpose.
Naryshkin related that on Tuesday, he and his delegation had been to Netanya to lay a wreath at the monument to the Red Army and had also met with veterans of the Red Army who had fought against the Nazi scourge.
The delegation had also participated in a discussion on the preservation of historical truth.
At his meeting with Peres at the President’s Residence, Naryshkin also conveyed the warmest regards of President Vladimir Putin and said that in Russia Peres is recognized as a great politician and a great statesman who has made a considerable impact on the peace process and who had contributed significantly to relations between Russia and Israel. The two countries complement each other and have similar attitudes to, and policies on numerous international issues said Naryshkin.
Peres said that in his meetings with Putin, their discussions on enhanced bilateral cooperation particularly in the fields of economics and science and technology had been fruitful. He also credited Putin with being far more intelligent than is reported in the Russian and international media.
Peres noted the strong cultural bridge between Israel and Russia, created initially by pre-state pioneers who came to the Holy Land from Russia, and subsequently fortified by the million plus Russians who came to Israel in the post-Communist era and just before it.
He expressed appreciation to Putin for commemorating the Red Army’s victory over the Nazis, for which he said, Russia had paid a very heavy price. He was also pleased at the progress that has been made towards finalizing pension payments to Russian senior citizens living in Israel.
In reviewing developments in the Middle East, Peres began with the conquest of the Ottoman Empire and the British and French colonization of the region, whereby he said, they had made geographic divisions and created artificial states, leaving an unfortunate legacy after they departed.
Peres did not advocate the dismantling of these states, but said that France and Britain had a responsibility to help create a better future for the younger generations who live in these countries, by providing them with good technological education so that they would have the tools that would enable them to be gainfully employed in an ever-changing world.
The Middle East is in dire need of economic rehabilitation, said Peres.