Russian Prime Minister to visit Israel Thursday

Russian PM visit to center on Israel-Russia trade relations; Medvedev to meet with Netanyahu in Jerusalem, Abbas in West Bank

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Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev will visit Israel on Thursday, Prime Minister Netanyahu confirming the scheduled visit during his cabinet meeting Sunday. He will meet with Netanyahu and with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

Medvedev’s visit will center on trade relations between Israel and Russia, the Russian Prime Minister confirming in an interview over the weekend his intentions to “stimulate trade- something that would bring benefits to Israeli and Russian businesses likewise” in the areas of technology, agriculture, natural gas and pharmaceuticals.

The Prime Minister spoke of Israel’s agricultural wonders, stating “Israel has splendid agrarian technologies and there’s much to learn from it in the field. Russian and Israeli agrarian centers and universities have special relations.” On Israel-Russia trade endeavors, he stated “Our two sides can reach a very fair level of trade relations… I’m not even mentioning here the large energy and gas projects we’re considering at present,” referring to Israel’s growing natural gas industry.

In an interview with Israel’s media ahead of his visit, Medvedev addressed Russian relations with Iran in relation to Israel. He stated “We have warm, very good relations with Israel and we are hoping to further their development. For this sake, I am coming to Israel. Also, we have relations with other countries, namely Iran and other regional countries as well,” stating that Russia did not provide Iran with its recently acquired S-300 missile defense system until the Iran nuclear deal went into affect and global sanctions were removed.

Medvedev also spoke on UNESCO’s resolutions denying Jewish ties to Jerusalem and the Temple Mount. He stated “Our country [Russia] never denied Israel’s or the Jewish people’s rights to Jerusalem, the Temple Mount, and the Western Wall. These are clear rights and it would be absurd to deny them. This decision is definitely not made to be anti-Israel and there’s no reason to politicize it.”