Netanyahu meets highest-ranking Russian official since Syria plane downing

Netanyahu stressed the importance of the relations between the countries and their collaboration in face of regional threats.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu [R] meets Deputy Prime Minister of Russia [L] (photo credit: KOBI GIDON / GPO)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu [R] meets Deputy Prime Minister of Russia [L]
(photo credit: KOBI GIDON / GPO)
Amid a mini-crisis with Russia over Moscow's blaming Israel for indirect responsibility in Syria’s downing of a Russian intelligence plane in September, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Maxim Akimov on Tuesday and stressed the importance of continued cooperation between the two countries.
According to the Prime Minister’s Office, Netanyahu emphasized the importance of the link between the two states and of the need for continued dialogue regarding threats in the region based on common interests.
Akimov is currently in the country as part of a delegation taking part in meetings of the Israel-Russia Economic Forum at the Foreign Ministry.
Netanyahu said on Sunday that, following a telephone conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin that day, the two agreed to meet shortly for the first meeting between them since the plane incident.
However, on Monday TASS News Agency reported that Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters that Moscow was not ruling out a meeting with Netanyahu, “but there are no specific dates yet.”
Akimov is taking part in the 15th meeting of the business forum, aimed at strengthening business ties between the two countries.
In 2017, trade between the two countries reached $2 billion, a significant increase from 2016 but well below the level of trade with some of Israel’s other main trading partners.
For example, trade with the US reached $25 billion, last year; $10 billion with China; $9.5 billion with the United Kingdom; $3.8 billion with India; and even $4.3 billion with Turkey, with whom Israel has dreadful diplomatic ties.
The PMO said that Netanyahu and Akimov discussed furthering cooperation in the fields of medicine, science, construction and agriculture, and that they also discussed developments on an agreement to govern child adoption.