Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said on Sunday that his recent meeting in Sochi with Russian President Vladimir Putin had been “very good and in-depth.”

In his opening address at the weekly Cabinet meeting, Bennett said that among the topics he and Putin had discussed during their five-hour meeting on Friday were Syria and Iran.

“[I]n a certain way, the Russians are our neighbors to the north, and it is important that we manage the delicate and complex situation there smoothly, without mishaps,”  said Bennett, according to an official statement.

The two leaders had reached “good and stable conclusions” to that end, said Bennett, adding that he had found Putin “attentive to Israel’s security needs.”

“We also discussed the Iranian nuclear program, the advanced state of which worries everyone,” he said.

In joint remarks to the press ahead of the meeting, Putin said that Israel and Russia had established a “businesslike and trusting relationship” under Bennett’s predecessor, Benjamin Netanyahu, and expressed his hope that Bennett’s government would pursue a “policy of continuity,” according to the AP.

Bennett called Putin “a true friend of the Jewish people,” and noted that the two countries were currently celebrating the 30th anniversary of diplomatic relations.

“In Israel we have a million ambassadors, Russian-speaking Israelis who constitute a great contribution to Israeli culture. They bring with them a mentality of hard work and strength. This is a very great contribution to the State of Israel,” said Bennett.

Bennett also thanked Putin for the Russian nation’s contribution to the defeat of Nazi Germany in World War II, noting Israel had built two memorials to Russia’s war effort, both of which Putin inaugurated.

Following the meeting, Bennett tweeted that the discussion had been “excellent” and that Putin had invited him to an additional meeting in St. Petersburg.

“We will continue to strengthen the ties between the countries,” said Bennett.

The meeting, which went longer than planned, led to Bennett, who is religiously observant, spending the Sabbath in Sochi.

JNS

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