Russian President Vladimir Putin discussed Iran’s nuclear program and increased economic cooperation during his visit to Israel on Monday.
Putin’s Israeli counterpart Shimon Peres urged him during a meeting to help prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons that could be used against Israel.
Putin avoided direct criticism of Iran, which vehemently denies allegations it plans to develop nuclear arms, but said that Russia’s national interests include maintaining peace and stability in the Middle East.
The Russian president, who attended the opening of a monument to the Red Army in the city of Netanya, also invited Peres to travel to Moscow this fall to attend the opening of a Museum of Tolerance, which will feature a large section on the Holocaust.
Regarding economics, Russia and Israel intend to work together on energy, agriculture, pharmaceutics and space industry, Putin said after talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Russia could open a station of its GLONASS satellite navigation system in Israel in 2013, Russian Federal Space Agency head Vladimir Popovkin said on Monday, also in Israel.
Putin also urged resuming negotiations in the Arab-Israeli conflict, calling them the only way to resolve the decades-old standoff.
He also said he discussed the Syrian conflict with Netanyahu, but did not elaborate.
On Tuesday, Putin is set to visit Palestinian territories and Jordan for talks with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas and King Abdullah II, respectively.