The two prime ministers signed a joint declaration of friendship to mark the 25th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries and a medical research cooperation agreement between hospitals.
(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Advisor)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, this morning (Monday, 21 December 2015), at the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem, hosted Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama. The two men signed a joint declaration of friendship to mark the 25th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries, a medical research cooperation agreement between hospitals and an agreement on the employment of diplomats’ spouses.
After the signings, the two leaders held a private meeting followed by an expanded meeting in which Albanian Prime Minister Rama said that his country was interested in strengthening relations with Israel and was interested in bilateral cooperation in security, cyber, water, energy and innovation. He noted that Albania would be pleased to learn from Israel’s successes in innovation and added that he would like to encourage Israeli businesspeople to invest in Albania.
Prime Minister Netanyahu said that Israel was interested in strengthening bilateral relations and in increasing trade and cooperation with Albania in various fields. He thanked his Albanian counterpart for Albania’s support for Israel in the IAEA vote several months ago.
Albanian Prime Minister Rama invited Prime Minister Netanyahu to visit Albania and together with him dedicate a site now being built about Albania’s efforts to rescue its Jewish community during the Holocaust.
Prime Minister Netanyahu: "Prime Minister Rama, welcome to Jerusalem. You have a towering presence and a distinguished delegation. We’re very happy to see you. We know that Albania is a good friend of Israel. We’re celebrating now 25 years of our relations. We know that he people of Albania are not merely good friends today of the people of Israel but in the crucial period of the Holocaust they stood shoulder to shoulder with the Jewish people persecuted in Europe. I think Albania is the only country whose Jewish population during the Holocaust actually grew because of the refuge and the sanctuary and the friendship and courage showed by the people of Albania. We never forget our friends, and we appreciate that display of humanity, civility and courage in our darkest hours.
It’s therefore a particular pleasure for me to expand our relations today in many concrete areas, and they are legion, they cover a very broad spectrum. They cover trade, they cover investments, they cover energy, water. We all need water to live and Israel has some experience in dealing with water resources. They cover the questions of security, which occupies and preoccupies countries everywhere. Today there is a looming terrorism that threatens all of us. Israel fights terrorism day in, day out. Israel never lets down its guard. But I think increasingly countries today understand that the problems of international security are intertwined. Terrorism threatens everyone. It is international and the response to it should be international.
These are some of the areas that we’ll be discussing. We’ll be signing some agreements to consolidate and reflect our friendship and it’s in this spirit of friendship that I welcome you, Prime Minister, Edi, to Jerusalem."
The Prime Minister of Albania, Edi Rama, will visit Yad Vashem, today, December 21, 2015. The Prime Minister will tour the Holocaust History Museum, participate in a memorial ceremony in the Hall of Remembrance, visit the Children’s Memorial and sign the Yad Vashem Guest Book as well as meet with members of the Mandil family, who were rescued during the Holocaust by Righteous Among the Nations Hamid and Xhemal Veseli, Muslim brothers from Albania.
Yad Vashem‘s special online exhibition, BESA: A Code of Honor, is dedicated to the unique story of how Muslim Albanians helped rescue hundreds of Jews during the Holocaust. Almost all Jews living within Albanian borders during the German occupation, were rescued.
In addition, the Prime Minister will be signing the first first-ever agreement between the Albanian Ministry of Education and Sport and Yad Vashem that will promote the professional development of Albanian educators in Holocaust Studies.
GovXParagraph3(Communicated by the President’s Spokesperson)
Copyright: GPO/Mark Neiman
President Reuven Rivlin this afternoon (Monday), held a working meeting with Prime Minister Edi Rama of Albania, who was visiting Israel accompanied by his country’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Ditmir Bushati, and Minister of Energy and Industry Damian Gjiknuri. The President welcomed Prime Minister Rama and his delegation, and noted praised the importance of the good relationship between the two countries. He said, "It is a pleasure to welcome you and your ministers. We appreciate very much the warm feelings between our two peoples and two governments."
He noted, "There is a lot of opportunity for us to cooperate. We face similar problems, but we are also facing the future, and we can do a lot together in many fields, especially water and agriculture, as well as security and the wider economy."
Prime Minister Rama noted he had long wanted to visit Israel, but this was his first visit. "It is very meaningful to me, to be here as the Prime Minister of Albania, because of our proud history of saving Jewish people during the Second World War, and I believe we need to do more to tell this story, because there are parts of it that are very revealing such as the many Muslim families who saved Jews."
He added, "Next year we will celebrate 25 years of diplomatic relations, and we are looking to learn from you, and seek your support – not only politically – but in terms of business and economic development."
On the issue of the threat of extremism and terror Prime Minister Rama said, "We live in the best times for the states of the Balkans, both in terms of cooperation and spirit of the relations, but yet we are all still vulnerable because of the threat of radical Islam."
President Rivlin emphasized that "Israel has no war with Islam, but we are in a fight against fundamentalists."
The Prime Minister concluded by extending an invitation to President Rivlin to visit Albania.