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Putin travels to Israel for a visit Thursday

June 25, 2012, 5:29 UTC+3

The Russian President will travel to Netanya for a ceremony to unveil a Memorial in honour of the Red Army's Victory over Nazi Germany

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MOSCOW, June 25 (Itar-Tass) — Vladimir Putin begins a visit, the first one over a period of more than seven years, to Israel on Monday. In Netanya, the Russian Head of State will unveil a memorial in honour of the Red Army's Victory over Nazi Germany, and hold talks with Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu and President Shimon Peres.

"We aim to further strengthen cooperation with Israel, relations with which are shaping up quite well," Yuri Ushakov, Assistant to the President for International Affairs, told jouirnalists at a special briefing.

"During meetigns with the Israeli leadership, Putin is to have a detailed exchange of views on key matters that are on the international agenda, including the current situation in the Middle East and in North Africa -- in the light of developments concerning Syria and Iran, the state of affairs in the Palestinian-Israeli negotiating process," Ushakov pointed out. "The sides are to discuss in detail the theme of Syria and the situation around Iran," the official emphasized once again.

"The previous visit to Israel by the Russian Head of State was made more than seven years ago, in April 2005," Ushakov pointed out. He recalled that "that visit, scheduled for January 2011, was not made in view of the strike by Israel's Foreign Ministry staff". "Therefore, Monday's visit is important and indispensable," the Kremlin official said.

Immediately upon arriving in Israel, the Russian President will travel to Netanya for a ceremony to unveil a Memorial in honour of the Red Army's Victory over Nazi Germany. The initiative to build the Memorial was proposed by the Israeli side. A Memorial design was worked out by Russian sculptors S.A. Shcherbakov, V.V. Perfilyeva, and M.L.Naroditsky, the official said.

"Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu personally monitored the project and wanted to unveil the Memorial in person together with Vladimir Putin. However, Netanyahu is suffering from a rupture of ankle joint. So, Putin will unveil the Memorial together with President Shimon Peres," Ushakov related. Putin, Peres, as well as the mayor of the city of Netanya are to make speeches. The ceremony will end with the laying of flowers at the Memorial.

Later in the day, in Jerusalem, Putin's intensive talks with Netanyahu and Peres are planned out." "The meeting with the Prime Minister of Israel will be held i narrow format. The leaders are to make public a statement for the press. The delegations of the sides are to join in the talks during a working luncheon. Following that, Putin will hold talks with Shimon Peres.

The Kremlin expects that "during the meetings, there will be a detailed exchange of views on the entire spectrum of matters concerning versatile Russian-Israel interaction in the political, economic, cultural and humanitarian fields and in other spheres".

"Special attention will be devote to trade-and-economic contacts. Russia-Israel trade turnover in 2011 ran at a record-high amount -- $2.9 billion, increasing by 10.5 percent as compared with that in 2010 (over the first four months of the current year, bilateral trade turnover amounted to $768 million)," Ushakov pointed out.

"Russia and Israel are aiming to develop mutually beneficial interaction in hi-tech sectors. The sides have to their credit the working out and implementation of large-scale projects in such sectors as the power industry, agriculture, nano-scale technologies, telecommunications, and space research. The Israeli side evinces interest in joining in the Skolkovo activities," Ushakov said.

"Here are several specific examples of such cooperation: in January, the ROSNANO state corporation established a subsidiary, the RUSNANO Israel Ltd in Israel and together with Israeli partners is busy selecting promising projects. In February, the Russo-Israeli company MSLR opened Russia's first production plant for the manufactures of circuit cards for electronic devices under a patented Israeli technology," the official recalled.

Besides, he emphasized, "The successfu launchings of Israeli spacecraft by means of Russian carrier rockets wee carried out (seven satellites have been put into near-Earth orbits since 1995).

"An international agriindustrial exhibition 'AgriTech-2012' was held in Tel Aviv from May 14 to 18. Within the scope of the exhibition, a conference on the theme of 'Agritechnologies: Russia-Israel' was organized and a regular session of the Russo-Israeli Working Group on Agriculture was held," Ushakov said.

"In recent years with the use of Israeli technological equipment, more than 45 hectares of winter greenhouses were built and upgraded in Russia (more than 10 greenhouse complexes). Joint projects are being worked out in Tambov Region, Stavropol Territory, Lipetsk Region, and the Jewish Autonomous Region to establis large livestock-raising complexes," he added.

Ushakov is convinced that "The Mixed Russo-Israeli commission for trade-and-economic cooperation, the ninth session of which was held in Moscow in December 2011, is an important and effective mechanism to monitor the implementation of trade and ecnomic accords reached."

When speaking of the development of cultural and humanitarian contacts, Ushakov pointed out, "A Russian center of Science and Culture has been successfully functioning in Tel Aviv since 2007".

"Last year, in view of the 20th anniversary of the restoration of diplomatic relations between our two countries, jubilee activities were held in Russia and Israel. Israeli theatres' accession to the Russian 'Golden Mask' project is the largest-scale event. An Israeli film festival was held in Moscow in September 2011," the Kremlin official recalled.

"The transfer of the ownership of St Sergius Metochion (conventual church and house) in Jerusalem to the Russian Federation was also of great importance in the context of the strengthening of Russian presence in the Holy Land," Ushakov pointed out.


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