Russian President Dmitry Medvedev is planning an official visit to Israel in January next year, the Haaretz reported on Wednesday. This will be the first Russian presidential visit to Israel in almost five years. It was in 2005 that Vladimir Putin met Ariel Sharon, which improved the bilateral ties between the countries.
The report quoted a senior Russian foreign ministry official as stating that both nations have agreed upon a date of visit and preparations for the visit have begun. The agenda for the visit is yet to be announced but the Iranian nuclear activity and Russian weapons deals with Syria and Lebanon are likely to come up during the discussions.
Meanwhile, Thursday's Caspian Summit in Azerbaijani capital of Baku is also seen as a venue for Russia and Iran to mend the strained diplomatic ties.
The relations between both sides are believed to be at an all time low, a fallout of Moscow dropping plans to supply Tehran with high-precision S-300 missiles and other weaponry in September. Iran was banking on the Russian S-300 deal to improve its defense mechanism against possible threats from the U.S. and Israel.
Snubbed by Russia, Tehran last month announced the development of home-made S-300s. Adding to the catch, Kremlin, in recent months, also slammed the nuclear activity in Iran.
Experts maintain that though both sides might not put behind all issues, authorities in Israel would monitor the outcome of the summit. The latest announcement of Russia's aid to the Lebanese army is also of concern to Israel. Russia, on Tuesday, promised six helicopters, 31 tanks, 130mm caliber cannon shells and ammunitions to the Lebanese forces.
The Russian aid is expected to strengthen the poorly equipped Lebanese air force and test Israel's regular reconnaissance missions over its territory.