(Communicated by the Prime Minister's Media Adviser)
Following are Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's remarks in the joint statements he and Russian President Vladimir Putin issued in Moscow earlier today (Wednesday, 20 November 2013):
"President Putin, I would like to thank you for the warm reception for myself and my delegation. The simple fact is that under your leadership, relations between Israel and Russia have become closer, warmer, more intimate and more productive. You just now detailed only the latest things that we are doing together in the fields of technology, space, agriculture, culture, everything. And you are right, even though there is much trade, there could be much more.
I think that there is a basic sympathy between our two peoples. First of all, because we have over a million Russian speakers in Israel who are familiar not only with the Russian language and the Russia culture, they came from here, from Russia and from the former USSR. They have deep ties. It is expressed today in that our Knesset Speaker speaks Russian, our Foreign Minister speaks Russian, our Deputy Foreign Minister, etc. etc. but it is not only them, it is also us, all of us. Therefore, I first mentioned the symbols, symbols are important. I initiated the memorial in memory of the soldiers of the Red Army and you initiated the Jewish museum here. This is a cultural expression of something very deep and a true bond, not from the language outward, but also of common values and common challenges. Not about everything but about the main things, we have a partnership. This found expression today in our discussion about issues regarding Israel's national security, and to a certain degree that of Russia as well, which naturally affect the Middle East and the entire world.
For us, for Israel, the biggest threat against us and against global security is Iran's effort to arm itself with nuclear weapons. Both of our countries have a common goal: We do not want to see Iran with nuclear weapons. Israel's approach is that the international community needs to insist on its positions as expressed in UN Security Council resolutions, i.e. to halt all enrichment, to remove all enriched material, to dismantle the centrifuges and to stop building the facility in Arak.
I would like remove any doubts. We want a peaceful, diplomatic solution; everyone prefers this over any other solution. But this must be a genuine solution. There is much to learn from the solution in Syria regarding the chemical weapons. There, Russia and others correctly insisted on the full dismantlement of Syria's chemical weapons.
Mr. President, I would like to congratulate you on the important role that you played in achieving this agreement, and of course now it must be verified that it is being implemented. But I believe that the international community would not have accepted an agreement in which Syria would thin its chemical stocks a little, with most of them remaining in place, as well as the ability to manufacture these weapons, with this ability being retained without any change or reduction. This is, more or less, what is now on the table in Geneva. We think that it is possible to achieve a better agreement, and this demands persistence and stubbornness, of course. But such an agreement, in my view, will really lead to a peaceful, diplomatic conclusion to the crisis over weapons of mass destruction, just as it did in Syria.
Mr. President, I thank you for the time you have given me and the problems that preoccupy us. I will not be revealing a state secret if I tell you that I always enjoy our conversations, that I truly enjoy our conversations, and appreciate the sincerity and the friendship. We agree on many things and sometimes disagree on certain things, but always between sincere friends. I expect to continue working with you on behalf of our common goals. We will certainly do so at dinner and many other opportunities as well. I thank you again for your hospitality."