Jerusalem, June 26 (IANS) Sergei Courtyard compound, one of the most important heritage sites in Jerusalem, is all set to officially come under Russian ownership following an agreement between Israel and Russia, according to Israeli media.
Built by Tzar Alexander II's son in the 19th century, the Sergei Courtyard was meant for the usage of Russian pilgrims travelling to Jerusalem. During the British Mandate's days the building was nationalised and in 1960s Israel had gained control over it.
The transfer of the structure, also known as the Russian Compound, was agreed in 2008, Xinhua reported Monday.
The transfer is to take place as soon as the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel (SPNI), a non-profit environmental organisation for preserving natural environments, plants and animals, vacates its offices in the building, around next autumn.
The organisation discussed the final terms with Russian representatives last Sunday.
The ownership's transfer is to take place amid the official visit of Russian President Vladimir Putin in Israel, reported various Israeli news outlets Monday.
The deal was announced four years ago by the then Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert and was part of a diplomatic pursuit to get Russia to stop arming the Syrian army and get them to back the UN Security Council's sanctions against Iran.
The Russian officials have declared during Sunday talks with the SPNI that the site will be opened for public and restored by the Russian government.
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