President Karolos Papoulias met with Simon Peres at the presidential mansion yesterday in a 3-day visit to Greece, with traditionally pro-Arab Greece seen as boosting its ties with Israel in recent years, particularly after Israel’s gradual falling-out with Greece’s regional rival, Turkey.
On joint statements made at noon, Papoulias spoke of the two countries’ desire for cooperation in the energy, environment, agriculture, trade and tourism sectors by putting their comparative advances to use, which will strengthen the two countries’ good relations, ANA reports. Eastern Mediterranean countries can work together as natural gas from Cyprus and Israel can be transported to Europe through Greece, Papoulias said.
Papoulias added that the two presidents exchanged views on developments in the Middle-East, stressing that Greece condemns terrorism from whatever side it may come and that the safety of the Israeli state is an essential requirement of the solution to the Palestinian issue.
In return, Peres thanked Papoulias for the warm welcome and underlined that what is important is an “additional marriage” between the two countries. Peres made special mention to prospects for scientific cooperation between the two countries, saying that developments in the sector can be part of the solution to the economic crisis. “The economic crisis is a European crisis, but there is a passage from the old to the new world and the bridge is a scientific one,” Peres said.
“The crisis is not the end of the world but the birth of the new one,” he added. ”It’s bad for our people but good for the future and I think Greece was brave enough to take the hard way to recover completely.”
Peres was meeting Greek President Karolos Papoulias Monday, and will also hold talks with conservative Prime Minister Antonis Samaras.
Peres is also due to meet Greek Jewish community leaders, and will leave for Israel early Thursday.