MOSCOW, June 11 (RIA Novosti) – Russian President Vladimir Putin congratulated newly-elected Israeli President Reuven Rivlin on his victory in the presidential run-off, saying that Moscow cherishes its friendship and partnership with Israel, the Kremlin press service reported Wednesday.
“Putin stressed that Moscow cherishes the traditions of friendship and partnership between Russia and Israel, and strengthening of mutually beneficial and constructive ties in political, economic and humanitarian areas have always been and remain an important element of Russia’s foreign policy,” the statement says.
“In the congratulatory telegram, the Russian leader said he was certain that Rivlin will contribute to the dynamic development of Russo-Israeli ties for the benefit of both countries’ peoples, stability, security and peace in the Middle East,” according to the statement.
Rivlin will become Israel’s 10th president in the country’s 66-year history. The former speaker of the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, he will succeed Shimon Peres, whose seven-year term is ending in July. Reuven Rivlin won in the run-off with legislator Meir Sheetrit by a vote of 63 to 53 in a secret ballot in the Knesset.
Rivlin belongs to the Likud party, and ran in the 2007 presidential election opposite Shimon Peres, who advocated a peaceful solution of the Palestinian conflict. Born in Jerusalem, Rivlin is a harsh opponent of the creation of a Palestinian state. The new president was first elected to the Knesset in 1988 and has been a parliamentary speaker twice in his career.