Greece, Israel reaffirm strategic alliance, sign cooperation agreement
07. September 2011. | 06:36 08:39
Source: Emg.rs, ANA
Greek Defense Minister Panos Beglitis met with his Israeli counterpart Ehud Barak in Jerusalem and signed a cooperation pact in the security sector between the two countries, defense officials said on Monday. Greek MoD Beglitis once again addressed a strict message to Turkey, this time from Israel, where he concluded his three-day oficial visit on Tuesday.
Greek Defense Minister Panos Beglitis met with his Israeli counterpart Ehud Barak in Jerusalem and signed a cooperation pact in the security sector between the two countries, defense officials said on Monday.
It was the first visit to Israel by a Greek defense minister and part of a cooperation agreement forged between the premiers of the two countries, George Papandreou and Benjamin Netanyahu, last year. Beglitis also met with the Israeli chief of general staff, Lieutenant General Benny Gantz, and was to meet on Monday with President Shimon Peres, Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman.
Defence Minister Panos Beglitis, speaking after meeting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem on Monday on the second day of his official visit to Israel, termed cooperation between Greece and Israel a strategic option for both the Greek government and for Israel, as he ascertained during his meetings with the government and the country's political forces.
"It is evident that both countries have the political will to shape a stable strategy on all levels and of course in the sector of defence and military cooperation," the Greek minister said.
Beglitis added that both sides are concerned over developments in the wider region and this, as he said, was the focus of the meetings that he had both on Sunday with his counterpart Ehud Barak and his meeting with Netanyahu on Monday.
He also expressed his fear over stability in the region, on the occasion of developments in the Arab world. "I fear the 'Arab spring' that created many expectations under specific preconditions and with a wider international initiative, developing into an 'Arab winter' and creating centrifugal forces, therefore contributing to the destabilisation of the wider region and harming the interests of Greece in the Eastern Mediterranean," the Defence minister said.
He also underlined that Greece and Israel are the two pylons of stability in the region, stressing that the discussion on developments on bilateral Israeli-Turkish relations and its threats on research in the exclusive economic zone were at the focus of his contacts.
In his meetings, Beglitis also discussed the Palestinian issue on which, as he stresses in a statement of his, Greece supports the creation of an independent, democratic, viable Palestinian state, based on the borders of 1967.
Defence Minister Beglitis concludes visit to Israel
Greek National Defence Minister Panos Beglitis once again addressed a strict message to Turkey, this time from Israel, where he concluded his three-day oficial visit on Tuesday.
Beglitis said "the threats, as they are expressed by various officials of Turkey do not help the climate of peaceful coexistence and cooperation of the countries" and added that "the relations of Greece with Israel are not competitive with the countries of the Arab world, nor of course with Turkey, but have an autonomous character, they are not related to third parties and we are looking ahead, through the development of these relations, as we are also interested in the further development of relations with Turkey, on the basis however of respect for International Law and International Treaties and not on a basis of unilateral practices, attitudes and threats. This, as is evident, cannot be accepted by anyone." The Defence minister stressed "we are in a period where there must be calmness by all sides in the region of the Mediterranean."
"It is not a period of conflicts and confrontations," he added and called on all sides to contribute, through the development of cooperation, to the effort for a better and safer region "where all will find their interest, the interest in peace, security and cooperation."
After his meetings on Tuesday with the President of the Republic of Israel Shimon Peres and Alternate Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, Beglitis spoke of a "common will for the further development and deepening of bilateral relations at all levels of mutual interest," while, as he said, he ascertained that "there are always margins for us to widen our relation always on an equal basis and with mutual benefit."
The agenda of talks with the Israeli officials included the situation in the Middle East.
"There is, as is evident, an increased concern on the part of Israel, on developments more widely in the region of the Middle East. They are concerns that we share for its security as well as wider security in the region," the minister said and added "the political message that I sent to the Israeli government and my colleagues ministers who I met is that Greece and Israel can work together in the shaping of a strategic relation that will help the stability and security of the wider region. We can constitute two reliable and stable pylons for the security and stability of the wider region and this is important in a period of big upheavals and reversals. Greece and Israel can, through a strategic partnership relation, shape those conditions for the stability of the wider region that we all need so much."