Netanyahu thanks Putin for 'Naama's quick pardon'

Prime Minister meets Russian President who signed Naama Issachar's pardon request, expected to return with Netanyahu on his plane to Israel.

Yoni Kempinski, Moscow ,

Netanyahu and Putin
Netanyahu and Putin
Yoni Kempinski

In Moscow, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Russian President Vlodymyr Putin meet this morning for a formal briefing on President Trump's Mideast initiative and the talks in the United States.

The meeting takes place after last night Putin signed Naama Issachar's pardon request. At the outset, the Russian President said, "We have responded to the request for pardon for Naama. Wishing her all the best for her and her family."

Netanyahu told Putin, "Mr. President, all our visits and talks are important. This visit signifies an even greater warming of our relationship. First, I want to congratulate you on the historical things you said on your important visit to Israel. We will all remember your exciting speech at the unveiling ceremony of the monument of Leningrad heroes. You talked about your family, your personal suffering, and the huge sacrifice of the Russian People in the war against the Nazis. Then you made another exciting speech at Yad Vashem at a ceremony marking 75 years since the liberation of Auschwitz.

"Secondly, we've been talking about some of the things related to the region. We have had several conversations with our American friends in connection with these things and I want to update you on some developments that are out there.

"Thirdly, I want to thank you on behalf of all the people of Israel for your quick decision to grant pardon to Naama Issachar. This is something that excites us all and our gratitude is felt by all the citizens of Israel, with all our heart," added Netanyahu.

"Mr. President, you are actually the first leader I talk to after my visit to Washington on President Trump's Deal of the Century. I think a new and perhaps unique opportunity has been created here, and I'd like to talk to you and of course hear your insights and see how we can combine all the forces for security and peace. In any case, I must say that Russia-Israel relations are the strongest, firmest, and best ever. I want to thank you Mr. President for your personal dedication and leadership in this matter as well as in other matters," the Prime Minister said.

Putin emphasized that "one should not forget that they found drugs in Naama's suitcase", and noted that a significant part of his decision to grant Naama pardon was the letter from her mother that he received from the Jerusalem Patriarch.