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Netanyahu Discusses Expanding Greek Ties

August 23, 2010
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The trip by Netanyahu was the first visit to Greece by an Israeli prime minister, a month after Papandreou made his first official visit to Israel. In the cabinet meeting, Netanyahu called for others in Israel’s government to talk with Greece. “I certainly encourage our ministers to be in contact with their Greek counterparts, because there are many fields in which we can cooperate with them—and that touches, first of all, on the economic field.”

While Israel has seen their relations with Greece’s rival, Turkey, take a major hit since the Gaza flotilla incident on May 31, Netanyahu attempted to distance his interest in deepening ties with Greece from the issues with Turkey. He said they are still “looking for ways in which to improve the situation, or halt the deterioration of relations, with Turkey—we did not cause their deterioration and we have no interest other than to improve them.” He also noted that his visit to Greece came about because of a “random meeting” with Papandreou in Moscow six months ago—well before the flotilla incident.  

“That was prior to what is now called ‘the Turkish flotilla' [incident], but it was due to a certain reality, which of course was a very difficult economic reality for Greece, and its desire to be assisted by ties with Israel, but also a certain strategic reality that was clear to both us and the Greeks,” said Netanyahu. “When I say Greeks, I mean all of the Greeks because I also met with the opposition leader, and I did not hear anything contradictory regarding the importance of ties between Israel and Greece.

He said the situation with Turkey should not prevent Israel “from having a full interest in cooperation with moderate, responsible and stable states, who desire moderation and stability in the region.”

Posted on August 23, 2010

Source: (By Joshua Spurlock, BFP Israel Mosaic Radio, August 22, 2010)

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