Israel Protests Statement by Greek Foreign Minister

(Communicated by the Foreign Ministry Spokesman)
February 25, 1998

Greek Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos, referring to Israeli-Turkish relations during his visit to Egypt (Feb. 23), called these relations "an alliance of wrongdoers". He said that he does not accept the explanation that this is a partnership of legitimate interests which does not pose a threat to any third party. In the wake of this statement, the Greek Ambassador to Israel was today summoned to the Foreign Ministry. Senior Deputy Director-General Yoav Biran conveyed to him the following official Israeli protest:

"Israel rejects the statement by the Greek Foreign Minister, in both substance and tone.

Israel has repeatedly made it clear that its cooperation with Turkey is not directed against any third party. A different presentation of the facts, as expressed by the Greek Foreign Minister, does not contribute to the fostering of an atmosphere of peace and stability in the region.

Relations between Israel and Greece have improved in recent years, and Israel is interested in strengthening this trend. The statement by the Greek Foreign Minister is not consistent with this aspiration, and this is regrettable."

Mr. Biran expressed Israel’s hope to continue to develop ties of friendship and common interests between the two states.