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Israeli premier invited to Russia

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IAN DEITCH | March 20, 2013 01:47 AM EST | AP

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JERUSALEM — An Israeli official says the country's prime minister has been formally invited to Russia.

He says Benjamin Netanyahu received a letter Wednesday from Russian President Vladimir Putin inviting him to visit Moscow "for discussions."

Talks about Iran's nuclear program and violence in Syria are likely on the agenda. Syria has good relations with Israel's arch foes Iran and Syria.

Israel and Russia enjoy generally friendly ties, and have deep economic and cultural relations bolstered by the more than 1 million immigrants from the former Soviet Union who live here. Putin visited Israel last year.

Netanyahu has not yet responded to the invitation, the official said speaking on condition of anonymity according to protocol.

Putin also congratulated Netanyahu on forming his new government, he said.