Thursday, 21 February 2019 | Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, [Tuesday] morning in Jerusalem, met with Slovak Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini and congratulated him on Slovakia’s upcoming opening in Jerusalem of a new information, culture and innovation center.
Prime Minister Netanyahu said:
“Prime Minister Pellegrini, welcome once again to Israel.
You were here as deputy prime minister in 2017 to attend Israel’s landmark cyber-tech conference and you gave a fantastic speech. You had a vision of autonomous flying cars and I have to tell you that I was immediately captivated because we make the technology for autonomous vehicles, but they’re ground-based and now you talk about another dimension.
We just spoke about the possibility of enhancing Israel’s capabilities in autonomous transportation and your capabilities, which are quite amazing in producing cars. I don’t know if people are aware of the fact that Slovakia per capita produces more cars than any other country in the world.
We spoke about the rapidly evolving technological revolution and how our two countries, that don’t have many natural resources except for the brains and hearts of our people, could cooperate more.
We spoke about acquainting Israeli companies with the capabilities of Slovakia, and we agreed to have a meeting later on this year in Bratislava. It would be the first time that an Israeli prime minister would visit Slovakia. And I look forward to doing it and to celebrate 25 years of our relations, but also to bring a business delegation to enhance this contact.
I’m very excited about that. I’m excited about your recognition of Israel as an innovation center, and of course a place of important cultural heritage and your decisions to enhance that relationship as well.
There are many, many things that connect us, and I have to tell you that we are cooperating in areas of security, defense, intelligence…but in every conceivable area of civilian cooperation, economic growth, the work of productivity, the ability to give a better, richer, safer, healthier life to our citizens. I think there’s much to do and I welcome the fact that we are talking concretely about doing that, and I welcome you to Jerusalem. Welcome.”
Slovak Prime Minister Pellegrini said:
“Thank you so much, Mr. Prime Minister, for a very constructive and a very good meeting…We were very concrete, and I really appreciate that we were able to speak about the possibility about how to cooperate between Israel and Slovakia.
Slovakia is the world leader in the automotive sector per capita.
I’m happy, Mr. Prime Minister, that Slovakia is also another leader. That means we are only 5.5 million citizens but we have already in this moment more than 600 people which are awarded by Israel because they helped to survive Jewish people during the Second World War. We [have] over 600 people like that. So we are also per capita the world leader in this issue, and we are proud of it, Mr. Prime Minister.
With the Prime Minister we had a good discussion about how to cooperate in many fields. It is defense. It is also a great cooperation between our intelligence services. This is very important in the fight against terrorism and against other problems that we are facing at this moment.
Of course for Slovakia it is very important to bring higher added value to the Slovakian industry. Because if we would like to stay a world leader in the automotive sector, we need to bring more R&D [research and development], more research and more innovation to Slovakia.
The prime minister already mentioned Slovakia will open very soon in Jerusalem a new cultural, information and innovation center in Jerusalem here. Because we also made the decision that Slovakia will have for the first time in our history only four diplomats responsible for innovation, and one of these will be exactly in Jerusalem at this new center.
There is really a valid invitation to you, Prime Minister, to visit Bratislava. Really we are the last country in that area where an Israeli prime minister never was or never visited this country. I believe that in the second half of this year, we can organize a really great visit of an Israeli prime minister to Slovakia together with a business delegation, and I hope this will strengthen our relationships which are really now on a very good and a very friendly level.”
Prime Minister Netanyahu said:
“I’m delighted with the invitation. I just have to get reelected.
It reflects the growing friendship and partnership between Israel and Slovakia, and I’m absolutely delighted with your decision to open your cultural and innovation center in Jerusalem and send a diplomat for that.
It is my hope that this will be the first step towards opening a Slovak embassy in Jerusalem but we’ll have time to talk about that.”
Posted on February 21, 2019
Source: (Excerpt from an article originally published by the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs on February 19, 2019. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today.)
Photo Credit: Amos Ben-Gershom/GPO
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