Although Greece, which gets much of its oil from Iran, is said to be in favor of lifting international sanctions, Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, meeting with Premier Benjamin Netanyahu in Israel on Oct. 8, said he wants closer ties as the two leaders discussed a range of issues, centering around energy and defense.
Samaras, accompanied by Deputy Prime Minister Evangelos Venizelos and either other ministers, signed a number of agreements and collaboration protocols with Netanyahu.
Later, Samaras emphasized the need for strategic cooperation between the two countries. He said that Greece and Cyprus, both members of the European Union, could gradually become Israel’s link with the bloc. “A lot remains to be done; this is still the beginning,” Samaras said.
Netanyahu praised Greece’s conservative premier for his handling of the country’s ongoing debt crisis which, he said, “required courage and strength.” He added: “Something is changing in Greece. I am encouraging Israeli (businesses) to invest in Greece.”
The Israeli leader also congratulated Samaras for the government’s efforts to clamp down on far right extremism. Earlier, Samaras visited the Holocaust Museum and signed in the guestbook with the phrase: “Never again.”
But Samaras and Netanyahu were far apart in their interpretation of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. “According to diplomatic officials, Greece is not convinced by Netanyahu’s argument that Rouhani is essentially no different than his predecessor Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, just with a more pleasant facade,” reported the Jerusalem Post. “The Greeks believe Rouhani should be given some time, and that perhaps the pressure already placed on Iran has changed its leadership’s positions.”
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