Prime Minister Netanyahu, Cypriot President Anastasiades and Greek Prime Minister Tsipras Hold Second Summit Meeting in Jerusalem
(Communicated by the Prime Minister's Media Adviser)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades and Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras held their second summit this morning (Thursday, 8 December 2016), in Jerusalem, after having met in Nicosia this past January. Prime Minister Netanyahu also held separate meetings with each of the leaders.
The second trilateral meeting reflects the close and tightening relations between the countries.
Relations between the three countries are strategically important for strengthening stability and establishing a regular framework for countries with common interests. A trilateral research and development agreement on advancing joint projects was also signed.
The leaders agreed to hold their next meeting in Thessaloniki next year.
Prime Minister Netanyahu:
"I want to welcome our dear friends, the Prime Minister of Greece and the President of Cyprus, Alexis, Nicos, welcome back to Jerusalem and we look forward to continuing our summits next year in Saloniki
This is a meeting of genuine friendship. There are shared values between us. We are three democracies in the Eastern Mediterranean. We've come to the conclusion quite a few years ago that we have so much to gain by cooperating with each other and we're doing that, point of fact, including with the new agreement we signed today.
A few days ago we had the help of firefighters from Cyprus and from Greece. The Greek firefighters put out fires of Haifa. It should be understood that this was invaluable help from both of you, deeply appreciated and we respond. We reciprocate. When you had recent fires in Cyprus we sent our planes. This is a concrete example of how this cooperation actually saves lives. But it can go well beyond that.
We've just discussed the formation of a regional emergency force, multinational force, which will be not merely coordinated in times of crisis, but will actually have a joint command center, will involve not only our three countries but more countries that we'll bring in, plan the construction, plan the buildup of these forces for firefighting, earthquakes, floods, search and rescue. This is I think an important idea and I'm glad that we have an agreement to move it forward and I think it will take our cooperation in this area to higher levels.
We are dealing also with matters of economy, with R&D, energy – that's a very big topic. We have gas fields, we have joint interests, we know want to explore the development of these gas fields and the provision of the gas to European markets. This is something that occupies our time and our attention. I hope we can move forward on it.
We have tourists, a lot of tourists. We have more Israeli tourists going to Greece and Cyprus than we have the other way, but of course we have expectations for the future.
But we welcome every form of cooperation between us. I think it's developing in a great pace, and these summits afford us the opportunity to create more areas of cooperation for the benefit of all our peoples.
Aside from anything else, I think there is genuine friendship, genuine friendship, a genuine sympathy of our three peoples to each other, and it's in this shared spirit that I welcome you here in Jerusalem.
I think that one of the things that has changed is the appreciation of so many in our region of the importance of our common civilization, our common commitments to democracy, to the rights of human beings to a life of liberty, prosperity and security. And I welcome the opportunity to advance our common values and our common interests with you here in Jerusalem.So welcome friends. It's very good to see you. Thank you."
(Click here for a translation of remarks Prime Minister Netanyahu made in Hebrew.)
At the trilateral energy meeting between Israel, Cyprus and Greece, National Infrastructures, Energy and Water Minister Dr. Yuval Steinitz agreed with his counterparts that the three countries' energy ministers would meet with the EU Energy Commissioner in order to advance the construction of the gas pipeline between Israel, Cyprus, Greece and Italy.
Prime Minister Netanyahu will meet this afternoon with Honduran President Orlando Hernandez, who is visiting Israel for the second time.
Attached photo credit: Kobi Gideon (GPO)