PM Netanyahu: "I updated Prime Minister Papandreou on the steps we intend to take in order to move forward on direct talks between us and the Palestinians and I know that Greece supports this wholeheartedly."

 PM Netanyahu meets with Greek PM Papandreou

 

(Photo: GPO)

"Last month, we were fortunate to host Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou’s first official visit to Israel. Today I am pleased to be here in Athens. This is the first visit by an Israeli prime minister to Greece and I attribute great importance to it. These are two exceptional visits between two peoples with a splendid and historical legacy and they express both governments’ aspiration to strengthen a broad range of bilateral ties. This expresses the decision of both peoples to cooperate and strengthen their relationship in a range of fields.

In the economic field, I hope that this visit leads to an increase in investments and stepped-up cooperation in water technology, renewable energy, trade, initiatives and more. We agreed that an economic delegation of ministers, entrepreneurs and representatives of the Israeli business sector will come to Athens in the coming months in order to develop this economic potential.

In the tourism field, I know that very many Israelis will visit Greece this year. Here they will find a very interesting, challenging and beautiful country. We also discussed the possibility of bringing hundreds of thousands of tourists from around the world for combined visits to the two cities that are the foundations of western culture – Athens and Jerusalem .

In the security field, we hope to increase bilateral cooperation on our common interests and to bring about greater security in general, and stability, security and peace to the Middle East. I updated Prime Minister Papandreou on the steps we intend to take in order to move forward on direct talks between us and the Palestinians and I know that Greece supports this wholeheartedly.

Prime Minister Papandreou and I have decided on a working plan to advance these goals.

I would like to thank you, my friend, the Prime Minister of Greece, on behalf of my wife Sara and I for your and your wife’s warm and heartfelt hospitality both for ourselves and the entire Israeli delegation. I intend to make every effort to see to it that this short visit continues in a long-range and important process of strengthening bilateral relations between our two ancient peoples, who yet have a bright future before them."