Israel to roll out the red carpet for Medvedev, Peres says

President tells Russian deputy PM that Russian leader will receive same level of importance, prestige as former US president Bush.

By
November 19, 2010 05:34
2 minute read.
Dmitry Medvedev

Medvedev angry 311 . (photo credit: Associated Press)

During his visit in early 2011, Israel wants to give Russian President Dmitry Medvedev the same degree of importance and prestige it accorded to former US president George W. Bush, President Shimon Peres told Russia’s First Deputy Prime Minister Viktor Zubkov on Thursday morning.

The two men met at Beit Hanassi prior to Zubkov’s participation in a Russia-Israel business meeting aimed at promoting joint ventures between the two countries.

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Although Peres acknowledged that Medvedev’s visit will be brief, Israel would nonetheless like to have an evening of Russian culture, because culture, he said, is part of diplomacy. The president also emphasized music, noting that Israel has a lot of talented musicians of Russian background and training, and this would be an ideal opportunity for cultural bridge-building.

Medvedev will be the second Russian president to visit Israel. President Vladimir Putin came during the intermediate days of Pessah in 2005, and at a state dinner hosted for him at a leading Jerusalem hotel by thenpresident Moshe Katsav, was forced to eat matzot, because there was no bread.

At the time, Israel was greatly concerned about Russian missile sales to Syria and participation in the creation of Iran’s nuclear reactor. Such issues still remain on Israel’s agenda in its relationship with Russia, and in all probability will be raised with Medvedev.

Meanwhile, Zubkov, who is on a working visit to Israel with the aim of strengthening cooperation in industry and trade, told Peres that Russia is interested in everything from agriculture to outer space, and would like to work on joint projects with Israel.

Among the joint projects in which Russia would like to engage are a second communications satellite, a factory for the production of fertilizer, and the creation of a production plant for medications in partnership with an Israeli company.

In conversations with Peres and other prominent Israelis, Zubkov underscored the benefits for Israel in entering into joint ventures with his country, due to the size of the Russian market.

He was pleased that Russia and Israel have signed an research and development agreement, and stated that there are more agreements in the pipeline.

He also noted the intense political discussions between Russia and Israel, which will be enhanced with the celebration in 2011 of the twentieth anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

The former Soviet Union was among the first countries to recognize Israel after its establishment but severed ties in the immediate aftermath of the Six Day War.


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