Russia's President Dmitry Medvedev hosted President Shimon Peres for talks Tuesday that were expected to focus on the Middle East and the Iranian nuclear standoff.
Medvedev welcomed Peres by calling him "one of the world's most experienced politicians" and said he was ready to discuss both bilateral ties and regional challenges.
"We can touch on both Russian-Israeli ties and difficult issues related to the Middle East settlement and other regional problems," Medvedev said at the start of the talks. "There are more difficulties than we wish, but we still need to discuss them."
Peres told Medvedev that he had "great hopes" for the meeting.