President Peres stressed that the visit of the Bulgarian President to Jerusalem, the meetings between ministers and the increased strategic cooperation in foreign policy and security are the best answer to terrorism and to extremism in the Middle East.
PM Netanyahu: "Today we engaged in exchanges against terrorist aggression that comes from our southern border in Gaza, but it actually comes from Iran and a whole terror network that is supporting these attacks. Iran supported Hizbullah’s terror attacks in Bulgaria."

 President of Bulgaria Plevneliev visits Israel

 

Photo: GPO

President Shimon Peres meets with President of Bulgaria
(Communicated by the Office of the President)

President Shimon Peres, conducted a work meeting this morning with the President of Bulgaria, Mr. Rosen Plevneliev, at the President’s Residence in Jerusalem. President Peres welcomes his guest in an official state welcome ceremony at the start of his visit to Israel. At the start of the ceremony the IDF Band played the national anthems of Bulgaria and Israel and the two presidents reviewed an honor guard of soldiers from the Israel Defense Forces.

President Peres began by greeting President Plevneliev and said: "Welcome to Israel and to its ancient capital, Jerusalem. Bulgaria is a true friend of Israel, which worked to save the Jewish people 70 years ago in Europe and stood by Israel following the terror attack in Burgas last July. I wish to thank you, your people and the government of Bulgaria for the support and aid that you gave to the injured."

President Peres stressed that the visit of the Bulgarian President to Jerusalem, the meetings between ministers and the increased strategic cooperation in foreign policy and security are the best answer to terrorism and to extremism in the Middle East. President Peres added that much could be learnt from the Balkans, where states who knew hatred and war became friends and transformed the region into one of peace and stability. In light of events in Syria where the leader continues to massacre his own people and what is happening in Iran President Peres added that, "I see the Balkan case and am encouraged – just as the Balkans underwent positive change, so we all can act for a better future for the Middle East."

President Plevneliev thanked President Peres and said that it was an honor to be in Israel both for him and for his delegation. He added that he was recently elected president and that he considers himself fortune that at the first opportunity he was able to visit Israel, which he described as a wonderful country, and to shake hands with a great leader and discuss with him the past and the future. The Bulgarian President added that politicians are paving the way for change and that he believes that by learning from the past it is possible to march to a better future. President Plevneliev went on and said that Bulgaria had undergone changes in the past decades and that he is focused on taking Bulgaria into a future of progress, a future without aggression and wars.

President Plevneliev stressed that the relations between Bulgaria and Israel are positive and deep saying that Bulgaria and Israel have been close for thousands of years describing the two countries as consistently reaching out to one another and supporting one another based on real cooperation and mutual values. He expressed his hope that this visit would serve to further strengthen the relations between the countries in the fields of economics, culture, tourism and technology saying that Israel was amongst the most innovative and technological countries and that Bulgaria sought to be Israel’s partner. The Bulgarian President added that a decade ago that bilateral trade stood at $50 million and today is already $360 million but that he views that figure as the start of the process due to the enormous potential for growth.

President Peres responded to President Plevneliev and said, "Israel’s doors are open to cooperation with Bulgaria. We would be glad to deepen and expand cooperation in a range of fields including hi-tech, tourism, economics and technology.

President Peres will host a state dinner in honor of the Bulgarian President at his residence in Jerusalem tonight at 19:00. During the meal the two presidents will deliver speeches to the assembled guests including senior political figures, diplomats and individuals from the economic, academic and cultural spheres.

* * *

PM Netanyahu meets with Bulgarian President Rosen Plevneliev
(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)

 President of Bulgaria Plevneliev visits Israel

Photo: GPO

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, on Tuesday morning (23 October 2012), made the following remarks at the start of his meeting with Bulgarian President Rosen Plevneliev:

"Mr. President, it’s a pleasure to greet you here in Jerusalem, in great friendship and in great warmth.

Relations between Bulgaria and Israel, between the Bulgarian people and the Jewish people are strong, solid and have deep foundations. We have a thriving Bulgarian Jewish community here. I’m lucky to count many of my friends among them, and I think this friendship was tested in the darkest times of history: in World War II with the exemplary action of so many in Bulgaria to save the Jews of Sofia, at a time when no one else was doing anything. No one was lifting a finger throughout Europe – or practically no one. I think this is a badge of honor for the people of Bulgaria, and we never forget that.

I had the good fortune, as a young diplomat, to be involved in the restoration of relations between Israel and Bulgaria, and those relations have flourished in every way. You come here and your Prime Minister has been here; we’ve been there: very strong ties in every field – in commerce and trade and in investments, cultural exchanges and of course tourism. It is in the field of tourism that we suffered a great tragedy, with the criminal terrorist attack in Bulgaria a few months ago. Again, friends are tested in times of need and you showed yourselves to be true friends. We were all impressed – all the people of Israel were impressed with the way that the people and government of Bulgaria assisted us in this time of travail.

I have to tell you that these terror attacks, which threaten all of us, continue unabated. Today we engaged in exchanges against terrorist aggression that comes from our southern border in Gaza, but it actually comes from Iran and a whole terror network that is supporting these attacks. Iran supported Hizbullah’s terror attacks in Bulgaria; Iran is supporting terror attacks now against us in Gaza. We will fight and we will hit them very, very hard – very hard. That’s the only way to fight them. The way to fight terror is to fight terror, and that we shall do with great force.

But I do want to say, Mr. President, that it’s a pleasure to receive you here. Jerusalem and Israel and the people of Israel welcome you. Welcome to Jerusalem."