Bennett, Putin Discuss Syria and Iran During Meeting in Sochi
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Russian President Vladimir Putin met on Friday in the Black Sea resort town of Sochi. The leaders discussed a wide range of issues, including coordinating their two countries’ activities in Iran and the Iranian nuclear threat. Housing Minister Ze’ev Elkin of the New Hope Party accompanied Bennett and served as translator and advisor.
“President Putin and I discussed the situation in Syria, of course; in a certain way, the Russians are our neighbors to the north and it is important that we manage the delicate and complex situation there smoothly, without mishaps. We reached good and stable conclusions and I found President Putin to be attentive to Israel’s security needs. We also discussed the Iranian nuclear program, the advanced state of which worries everyone,” Bennett told his Cabinet at the weekly meeting Sunday morning.
“Relations between the two countries are very good but they can always be better. In this case, the potential for economic, scientific, cultural and technological cooperation is endless given the fact that there are approximately one million Russian-speakers in Israel,” Bennett also said.
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Bennett returned to Israel early on Sunday from Sochi. He had been scheduled to return on Friday after a two-hour meeting with Putin, when the meeting ran for five hours, Bennett and his entourage had to stay over until late Saturday night to avoid traveling on the Jewish Sabbath, which is prohibited. The Sochi Chabad House reportedly handled the logistics of providing Sabbath meals and religious services. Putin called Bennett after the end of the Sabbath and invited the prime minister his wife to visit St. Petersburg soon; Bennett accepted the invitation.