Medvedev: "My goal as the chairman of the Russian government is to stimulate trade — something that would bring benefits to Israeli and Russian businesses likewise." Photo: Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev.Reuters
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev believes he will have an opportunity to discuss with the Israeli leadership all the issues of cooperation and a buildup of Russian-Israeli trade when he visits Israel next week.
"I’m looking forward to my visit to your country," he said in an interview with Israel’s Channel 2. "I hope to discuss the pressing issues of our cooperation with both Israeli President and Prime Minister in the light of the active contacts we maintain."
"If you remember, Prime Minister (Binyamin) Netanyahu has met more than once with President (Vladimir Putin) over the past twelve months," Medvedev said adding the Russian Prime Minister was going to visit Israel after a long enough interval.
He recalled that he was not able make a visit to Israel when he was Russian President for a very simple reason - the staff of the Israeli Foreign Ministry went on strike and said it would not receive anyone.
"No doubt, anyone has a right to go on strike but this clearly didn’t work towards the promotion of dialogue," Medvedev said. "That’s why I think the forthcoming visit would be useful."
"Our two countries can attain much for a variety of reasons," he said. "I certainly mean the origins and development of the State of Israel, the common interests in the international arena, and simply bilateral relations as such, and particularly in the economic and humanitarian spheres."
Medvedev admitted that Russian-Israeli trade had been developing at a lower rate in the previous several years than one might expect. As a result, the current trade turnover stands at around $2 billion.
"That’s not much and we used to have a trade turnover some 30 percent bigger than that but it shrank because of the global economic crisis and the devaluation of the ruble, as well as because of the decrease of imports into Russia," he said. "That’s why my goal as the chairman of the Russian government is to stimulate trade — something that would bring benefits to Israeli and Russian businesses likewise."
Medvedev pointed out the implementation of key projects in a number of areas like pharmaceutics, agrarian technologies, high-tech, and developing of startups.
"On the Israeli side, supplies of farming produce — to the Russian Federation, I mean — make up about one-third of the trade turnover," he said. "Israel has splendid agrarian technologies and there’s much to learn from it in the field. Russian and Israeli agrarian centers and universities have special relations."
Also, Israel has a very extensive experience with high-tech while Russia is actively stimulating this sector of bilateral cooperation, Medvedev said.
"Our two sides can reach a very fair level of trade relations," he said. "I’m not even mentioning here the large energy and gas projects we’re considering at present."
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