Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu stressed the strong ties of friendship and history between the two countries during their their meeting in Jerusalem on Tuesday.
The two prime ministers referred to the common interests and challenges presented in both countries, but also to the common goal they have in ensuring prosperity and stability in the wider eastern Mediterranean region.
Special mention was made to tourism, with Netanyahu talking about a million tourists from Israel who choose Greece as their destination every summer while Mitsotakis announced that, beginning August 1, Israeli tourists will once again be able to travel to Greece, repeating that Greece’s top priority this year is the safety and health of all.
Mitsotakis also referred to “Turkey’s aggressive behavior in the eastern Mediterranean,” saying that its actions are a threat against stability and peace in the region.
“We will always seek peace, with respect for international law,” the Greek Prime Minister stressed, adding that this is exactly what the country did when it signed an agreement with Italy a few days ago on the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).
He also said that he and the Israeli Prime Minister had taken part in a joint initiative of countries for the smart management of the coronavirus pandemic.
“We are also vigilant for the next day,” the Prime Minister said, noting that Greece will welcome direct flights to all of its main destinations beginning on July 1, 2020.
“If necessary, we will extend the tourist season until October-November,” he said, noting that both countries are tourist destinations.
“It is important to open Greece to foreign tourists, but health is number one,” PM Mitsotakis added.
He also said that both recognized that “we must have a restart in the economy” and that there are many investment opportunities in Greece today.
“You want talented engineers, we have them in abundance. We offer you a gateway to the European market,” he continued while stating that the two countries will sign protocols on agriculture and cyber-security and that he will hold a meeting with Israeli investors who are either already in Greece or are interested in investing in the country.
“We can do much more in the field of defense cooperation. We talked about East Med, and about Turkey’s actions. The Turkish actions are a threat to the region. We will always seek peace in accordance with international law and the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea,” he said, adding that the two countries’ strategic relationship could be further strengthened.
“We always feel at home when we are in Israel and I believe the same happens to Israelis when they are in Greece,” PM Mitsotakis stated.
On his part, Benjamin Netanyahu spoke of the enormous opportunities between the two countries, stressing that “prosperity can only be ensured through cooperation and security.”
“Greece has great talent and scientists. But Israel also has guarantees in this area. Greece has opportunities for investment,” the Israeli Prime Minister underscored, noting that the number of Israeli visitors to Greece has tripled in recent years, amounting to 1.2 million Israelis visiting Greece last year.