Ariel Sharon: Russia is an important player on international arena

Israel considers Russia to be one of important players on the international arena, Israeli Premier disclosed in the course of his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Israel takes very seriously its relations with Russia, he said.

"President Putin is a true friend of Israel," the Israeli Premier stressed.

"We highly appreciate Vladimir Putin's policy and his personal guarantees, with which he repeatedly sides when the Israeli security is a matter of concern," Sharon disclosed.

"Israel deals with issues of its own security and takes all the necessary measures in order to protect itself. However, friendly relations with Russia play an important role and are very valuable for Israel," the Israeli Premier underscored.

Ariel Sharon said that it was his third visit to Russia as an Israeli Premier and expressed hope that this visit as well as his often telephone conversations with Vladimir Putin would contribute greatly to the further development of relations between the two countries.

"I don't doubt that you will make a lot of new friends," Ariel Sharon said confirming his invitation for Vladimir Putin to visit Israel.

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