Israel and Russia will continue consultations geared at resolving the nuclear standoff with Iran through peaceful means, Russian President Vladimir Putin said in a joint press conference with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday, adding that Israel-Russia relations are based on a "deep friendship."
Putin arrived in Israel earlier in the day, in what Israeli officials hoped would be an opportunity to recruit Russia's government to join their efforts against Iran's nuclear program.
Speaking following a lengthy meeting between Netanyahu and Putin later in the day, the Russian leader said that he felt he was "among friends," adding that the ties between Israel and Russia were ones of "deep friendship, not something that will pass, and that will endure in the future."
"We held a thorough discussion of the issue of Iran's nuclear program, and, even in the current situation, I estimate that we will continue to consult and work together, and that these issues will be resolved peacefully for the good of all sides," Putin added.
Netanyahu spoke at the press conference for the need to restart peace talks with the Palestinians, saying: "One of two things can happen. Either [Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas comes over here, or I go over there. Either way, we must start talking."
Alluding to the standoff with Iran, Netanyahu said at the joint press conference that there "are those who wish to deny the Holocaust, and there are those who erect monuments to honor the actions of the Red Army, which saved Jews in the Holocaust."
The premier was referring to a visit by Putin to the city of Netanya earlier Monday, where he inaugurated a new memorial to the Red Army.
During a speech given at the memorial, Putin called the Holocaust "the darkest, most shameful chapter in human history," and praised the Soviet Army for being the one to "smash the head of the Nazi monster, allowing all nations to survive.”
Putin added that he was “very excited” and thanked Netanyahu, Peres and “all of his Israeli friends” for the establishment of the monument.
President Shimon Peres was the main Israeli representative at the dedication ceremony. He praised the Soviet Union's actions against Nazi Germany, as well as the current Russian government's efforts to promote peace between Israel and the Palestinians.
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