In his meeting with Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos, FM Liberman thanked Greece, which holds the current Presidency of the European Union, for acting to balance the positions of the EU.
(Communicated by the Foreign Minister’s Bureau)
Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman met on Thursday (March 20, 2014) in Athens with Greek President Karolos Papoulias, Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos, President of the Hellenic Parliament Evangelos Meimarakis, and with the heads of the Jewish community in Greece.
FM Liberman said in his meeting with Greek President Papoulias that Israel and Greece enjoy good, warm relations which have in recent years been steadily improving, reflected in close and fruitful cooperation in the areas of diplomacy, security, economy, agriculture, energy and tourism. These relations are also reflected in the close ties between the heads of state, the many high-level visits, and an open dialogue. Liberman noted that exports from Israel to Greece increased in 2013 by 29% in relation to 2012, and imports from Greece to Israel increased by 36%. There has also been an increase in tourism between the two countries. He promised to continue to strengthen ties in all areas, noting that good relations and coordination are especially important in light of the many challenges in our region in recent years.
In his meeting with Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos, FM Liberman thanked Greece, which holds the current Presidency of the European Union, for acting to balance the positions of the EU. Some of the EU states have a basic misunderstanding of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, erroneously believing that the settlements are the prolem. The settlements were never an obstacle to peace, as they were not an obstacle in the peace treaties which Israel signed with Egypt and Jordan. The current government of Israel has demonstrated its desire for real peace, and the ball in now in the Palestinians’ court. We hope that Greece, as the current President of the EU, will influence these states to see things as they really are, said Liberman.
The two foreign ministers also discussed the talks between the world powers and Iran. FM Liberman said that unlike the agreement signed with Syria which led to the removal of its chemical weapons and destroying its ability to continue to develop such weapons, the agreement taking shape with Iran allows it to maintain its capabilities, infrastructures and the means to obtain an atomic bomb, and therefore this is a bad agreement. The international community must deal firmly with Iran in order to maintain the stability and security not only of the Middle East, but of the entire world. It is clear, said Liberman, that Iran does not require nuclear capability and advanced missiles to spread "nuclear peace" in the world, and the world must act accordingly.
In his meeting with President Papoulias, Foreign Minister Venizelos, and President of the Hellenic Parliament Meimarakis, FM Liberman stressed that Israel deeply appreciates the positions of the Greek leadership against antisemitism, and its determined action to combat it.