President Reuven Rivlin today (Tuesday) held a working meeting with Secretary General of NATO, Jens Stoltenberg, at NATO Headquarters in Brussels.
During their discussion about the situation on Israel's northern border, President Rivlin invited the Secretary General to visit Israel and tour the border area in particular, to allow him to determine for himself the sensitive situation in which Hezbollah was rearming with Iranian support.
At the conclusion of their meeting, both the President and Secretary General Stoltenberg delivered statements to the media. President Rivlin thanked the Secretary General for the recent decision taken to allow Israel to open a mission the NATO Headquarters, and stressed that this would help strengthen the cooperation and good relations between Israel and NATO. The President said, "Today in the Middle East, the winds of hatred blow stronger than ever. We know that events in one region affect the rest of the world. Today, the whole free world faces the threat of extremism, of hatred, and of the terrorism and violence this brings. This lack of stability, poses a danger to us all, and even to NATO itself, and makes our close cooperation, not just important, but essential."
The President concluded by inviting the Secretary General to visit Israel, and said, "I know your visit, would be an important step in strengthening our ties even further, and you will be welcome as our honored guest, and a true friend of Israel."
Sec. Gen. Stoltenberg welcomed the President and said, "Israel was the first Mediterranean Dialogue country to agree a security of information agreement with NATO back in 2001. We are now taking our cooperation a step further, and we have agreed to establish an Israeli mission to NATO headed by Israel's Ambassador to the EU. This is a very important step and I look forward to this mission opening in the very near future. This is an important step, but not the only step that we are taking; we have also begun our discussions on the path to enhance our bilateral cooperation. Increasing the level of cooperation between NATO and Israel, as well as with our other Mediterranean Dialogue partners is essential. The violence and instability that has crippled the Middle East and North Africa in recent years is a threat to the security of all our nations. NATO and Israel have a long relationship and we are longstanding partners. I very much look forward to visiting Israel, and to developing even closer relationship with Israel moving forward."