Netanyahu: "Israel and Germany have a unique bond forged of tragedy and hope, and a great friendship and cooperation."
Merkel: "We are here in order to discuss a very broad-based spectrum of different issues."
(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)
German Chancellor Angela Merkel arrived in Israel on Monday, February 24, with a delegation of 16 German government ministers, for the fifth meeting between the Israeli and German governments, which will mark 50 years since the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two governments.
Following are Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s and German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s remarks at the Prime Minister’s residence in Jerusalem:
Prime Minister Netanyahu: "Chancellor Merkel, Angela, welcome again to Israel, with your entire delegation. This is an important meeting. Israel and Germany have a unique bond forged of tragedy and hope, and a great friendship and cooperation.
I think that there are three main subjects that I would like to raise in this visit, and they relate to our two democracies’ quest for security, peace and prosperity.
On security, I would like to discuss the ways to prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons capability. I believe that this is the greatest challenge to the security of the world.
On peace, I would like to discuss with you how we can advance the efforts to achieve peace between Israel and the Palestinians. And I can assure you Angela, that the people of Israel want peace. They want a real peace; they want a peace that ends the conflict, that finally gets the Palestinians to recognize the Jewish state and one in which we have the necessary means of security to defend ourselves against any possible contingency in this turbulent Middle East.
And finally, on prosperity, you brought 16 members of your government here, which enables us to discuss the various ways in which Israel and Germany can further strengthen our cooperation in all the fields of economics, technology, and many, many other exchanges.
So we have a lot of work to do, and we’re going to start this evening.
So, welcome to Jerusalem.”
Chancellor Merkel: "Dear Benjamin, Prime Minister, allow me to say that I’m delighted to be here again for this, the fifth German-Israeli inter-governmental consultations.
We have come here, as you rightly put it, with almost the whole of the new government, almost all of the ministers are represented. And we wanted to show you in this way that this is indeed a very strong friendship, which ties our two countries together, and a friendship that we want to continue to develop further.
We are here in order to discuss a very broad-based spectrum of different issues and we can discuss economic issues, we will discuss research and development, we will discuss exchanges, particularly, people-to-people exchanges, in particular, exchanges among the members of our young generation, and we will also obviously address current political issues.
We will also have an opportunity to discuss the preparations leading up to next year, to the year in which we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the German-Israeli diplomatic relations, these five decades of which unite our two countries show how long Germany has already tried to work shoulder-to-shoulder with Israel in order to secure the future of Israel.
Part and parcel of the secure future of Israel is obviously the two-state solution, for which the Federal Government has also been working assiduously: a Jewish State of Israel and alongside it, a Palestinian state. That is something on which interesting talks have already started and have been ongoing for quite some time and I’m very much looking forward to being able to address with you tonight this issue, yet again, because, as I said, we, as Federal Government very much support this concept, not only as a government, we want to see progress in this respect but I personally am also championing this.
We will also, as you quite rightly said, discuss Iran. There’s quite a lot to discuss on this particular issue, so it is going to be an interesting evening with intensive talks and then we’re looking forward to tomorrow where we will be able to address together with members of both cabinets all other outstanding issues."