(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert met this morning (Monday, 11 June) with Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis.  He welcomed her to the region and commended her and her country’s efforts to advance the peace process.

The two ministers discussed ways to improve relations between Israel and the Palestinians. FM Bakoyannis is also due to meet with Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmud Abbas.  Prime Minister Olmert noted that, while Israel is willing to assist the PA in various ways, it will have no contact with the Palestinian unity government led by the Hamas terrorist organization.  The Prime Minister reminded his guest that the recently scheduled meeting between him and PA President Abbas was postponed at the Palestinians’ initiative and that Israel is prepared to renew talks with the PA President at any time.

 Olmert briefed the Greek Foreign Minister on the various obstacles to the process, including the holding of Gilad Shalit by Hamas, Palestinian terrorist activities, the ongoing firing of rockets at Israel, and weapons smuggling into Gaza via the Philadelphi corridor.  Foreign Minister Bakoyannis promised to raise these issues during her diplomatic talks in the region.

Prime Minister Olmert noted the warm relations between Israel and Greece and invited Greek Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis to visit Israel.