Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is in Moscow today (Thursday) on a one-day official visit. The trip was postponed for several hours last night, following the murderous Palestinian terrorist bombing in Jerusalem.
During the 24-hour visit, Netanyahu will meet President Dmitry Medvedev, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. Before his departure, Netanyahu said he planned to discuss with them “a series of bilateral and regional issues, as well as the quest for a peace process with security and issues that are very important for Israel's security.”
PA leader Mahmoud Abbas, who has presided over the naming of streets and public squares in honor of Palestinian terrorists, left Moscow just yesterday following his own official visit.
The Kremlin, for its part, urged Israel and the Palestinian Authority not to “let the peace process fall victim to surging turmoil at home and in the region.” The Kremlin invited both leaders for talks just three weeks ahead of a key Quartet summit meeting, involving the United States, Russia, the European Union and the United Nations. The meeting is scheduled to happen in Berlin on April 15.
On Tuesday, Netanyahu said the two sides - Israel and the PA - were further apart than ever, and blamed the PA for refusing to sit down at a negotiating table and talk.
The Voice of Russia international broadcasting network linked Israel’s building of homes with the revolutionary fever sweeping the Middle East. It reported yesterday that Kremlin aide Sergei Prikhodko had suggested that Israel could “freeze the construction of Jewish homes in the occupied Arab lands [sic] following mass unrest and revolutionary upheavals in the Middle East and North Africa.”
The report further noted that “settlement building is a key obstacle to direct contacts between Israel and the Palestinians.” It was not updated to make mention of the murderous Palestinian terrorist bombing in Jerusalem that afternoon.
During his visit, Netanyahu is also expected to raise the issues of Iran's nuclear program and a recent Russian recent pledge to sell advanced cruise missiles to Syria. Not only is Israel technically at war with Syria, but the Syria-Iran-Hizbullah triangle is of great concern to Israel.
This is Netanyahu's third trip to Moscow since taking office two years ago, including a secret visit in September 2009.