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MOSCOW, March 16. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday that he planned to meet Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the short run.
Receiving Israeli President Reuven Rivlin in the Kremlin, Putin said that Russian and Israel "have a large number of questions to discuss linked with the development of bilateral trade and economic relations and questions of the region’s security." "I hope that we’ll be able to discuss them in the short run with the Israeli prime minister with whom we have made arrangements for a meeting," Putin said.
The Russian president also said the relations with Israel were special and based "on friendship, mutual understanding and the long common history."
"Russia and Israel have developed a special relationship primarily because 1.5 million Israeli citizens come from the former Soviet Union, they speak the Russian language, are the bearers of Russian culture, Russian mentality. They maintain relations with their relatives and friends in Russia, and this make the interstate relations very special", Putin said.
He also noted the growing number of Russian pilgrims traveling to the holy sites in Israel. "The Israeli government meets us halfway, returning to Russia the shrines highly valuable for us, and we are very grateful to our Israeli friends for this," the Russian president said.