President Rivlin meets with Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop
(Communicated by the President's Spokesperson)
President Reuven Rivlin this afternoon (Sunday) met at his residence with Foreign Minister of Australia Julie Bishop.
President Rivlin welcomed Foreign Minister Bishop and said, "Welcome to the State of Israel and to Jerusalem. I want to say to you as one of the leaders of your people that the connection between us - Australians and Israelis - is very important for us in Israel. We appreciate the friendship between our peoples, between our two states, and your friendship with the people of Israel.”
"We are facing many problems," said the President, and went on to stress the importance of the cooperation between Israel and Australia in the fields of innovation and cyber security, among others. "We are cooperating greatly on issues that are of concern to the whole free world," he added.
He noted the contribution of Australia in the region, and spoke of the importance of the Anzac Centenary. He said, "We as Israelis remember the Australian servicemen, who helped the Jewish people return to their homeland, along with the necessity to cooperate with all of the people living here."
The President stressed, "We are trying to do all we can to renew the negotiations between us and the Palestinians. Unfortunately the Palestinians are looking for other arenas to debate with us in the international arena."
The President emphasized the importance of the growing bilateral relations between the two countries. President Rivlin added that he hoped to be able to rearrange his previously postponed visit to Australia for the near future.
Foreign Minister Bishop thanked the President for his warm welcome and stressed, "I am delighted to visit again, and return as Foreign Minister. This is an opportunity for me to ensure that this relationship is not taken for granted, that this relationship will continue to be nurtured by both sides, and that it will continue to flourish based on common values. It is a friendship which must endure as like-minded countries facing so many challenges in a deeply troubled world."
The Foreign Minister noted that Australia was commited to standing up for Israel in multilateral fora when there were "obviously biased, discriminatory and unfair resolutions put forward."
She noted the important role of the Australian Jewish community, and said, "There are around 120,000 in the Australian Jewish community, and they add so much to the richness of the fabric of Australian society."
Foreign Minister Bishop conluded by stressing the importance of the cooperation and bilateral partnerships, she said, "Our relationship has the potential to enter into new fields of endeavor particularly in innovation where Israel is a world leader, and we are delighted that there will be a 'landing pad' in Tel Aviv, which shows we have much to learn from one another." She noted that on this and many other issues, "Israel and Australia will continue to work together".
The two went on to discuss a wide range of issues including stability in the region, the peace process, and other global challenges.