Israel sends clear message of support to Greece in light of Turkish aggression

16 June 2020
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Israel expressed its full support to Greece regarding maritime zones and its opposition to any attempt to violate these rights in the joint statement signed by the two countries, upon completion of bilateral contacts.

The joint statement reads:

Jerusalem, June 16th, 2020
The Government of the State of Israel, headed by PM Benjamin Netanyahu and The Government of the Hellenic Republic, headed by PM Kyriakos Mitsotakis, have concluded the Prime Ministers’ Summit, in Jerusalem, celebrating 30 years since the establishment of full diplomatic relations between Greece and Israel. This Prime Ministers’ Summit was yet another opportunity to reiterate our Governments’ commitment to continue strengthening the cooperation between our countries contributing to our prosperity, national strength and regional stability.

Reviewing the progress made by both countries since May 21st, 1990, after the signing of the relevant Joint Statement by the Governments of the late Konstantinos Mitsotakis and the late Yitzhak Shamir, our meeting today allowed us to agree on continuing the concerted efforts to intensify cooperation in all fields: foreign affairs, defense, innovation, cyber, agri-tech, science and academic, energy, health, environment, tourism, infrastructure, culture, sports and commerce and investment.

Israel and Greece share common values of democracy and the rule of law, as well as deep historical and cultural bonds. Our bilateral cooperation is aimed at maintaining regional stability, prosperity and cooperation and allows our nations, rich with heritage, culture and intellectual contributions to humanity to be an anchor to the future. In this regard, we are also committed to continuing our trilateral cooperation with Cyprus and the 3+1 format with the United States of America with the clear aim of achieving concrete and meaningful results.

We call for respect for sovereign rights of all states in their Continental Shelf and Exclusive Economic Zone in accordance with customary international Law of the Sea. We strongly oppose attempts to violate these rights in a manner that endangers the stability of the Eastern Mediterranean and the Aegean Sea, violates international law, and runs counter to good neighborly relations. Our two countries will continue to coordinate policies.

We strongly reaffirm the right of Israel to live in security and peaceful co-existence with all its neighbors, including the Palestinians. We strongly oppose calls for the destruction of the State of Israel as well as attempts to challenge or undermine Israel’s right to safety and security. We highlight the special significance of Jerusalem for the three monotheistic faiths: Judaism, Christianity and Islam and recall the inherent and deep historical bonds of the Jewish people to its historical homeland.

The representatives of the Greek Government held fruitful discussions with their Israeli hosts on the following issues:

Health
In the past months, the world has been stricken by the Covid – 19 pandemic, which still poses a major risk globally. Our countries are among those who faced the first wave of the pandemic successfully. At the same time, this challenge has been a wakeup call for stronger cooperation in facing global risks, hazards or natural disasters. Both countries are committed to take all necessary measures to safeguard health and to prepare our countries for future challenges through bilateral and multilateral cooperation. To that effect, we decided to intensify cooperation between our two health systems. The two Health Ministers will soon meet to promote know-how exchanges, best practices and mutual programs in nutrition, digital health, electronic health records, and emergency preparedness models.

Foreign Affairs
We gave special attention to the security developments in the Eastern Mediterranean, the Middle East and North Africa, especially to the conflicts in Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Iraq and Yemen. These developments have considerable implications on the security situation of the international community as a whole, including the Middle East and Europe. Nuclear proliferation, support for terrorism, including by advanced weapon systems, intervention in the domestic affairs of other nations and undermining the stability of those countries among others, are unacceptable and we are firm in our resolve to fight those.

Taking into consideration these global and regional developments, which occupied much of our discussions, and understanding the importance of collaborations, we agreed to continue our close contacts and intensive meetings at all levels, as well as to intensify the working relationship and cooperation between our two MFAs to coordinate efforts in the regional and the international arena.
Israel reiterates its full support and strong solidarity with Greece in its maritime zone and its opposition to any attempt to violate these rights. Israel attaches great importance to its longstanding and important partnership with Greece.

As Greece is preparing to assume the IHRA chairmanship in 2021, which coincides with the 200th anniversary of its Independence Declaration, we reiterate our condemnation of all manifestations of xenophobia, anti-Semitism, incitement to harassment or violence against persons belonging to communities based on ethnic origin or religious belief, wherever they occur.

We reiterated our steadfast commitment to the enhancement of the EU-Israel bilateral relations in all areas of common interest, including cooperation on economic, trade political, strategic, security, innovation, and regional challenges. We strongly support the path of intimate dialogue as should be between friends and partners. We underline the need to promote cooperation in the framework of the EU-Israel Association Agreement, fully operationalizing it, including the conclusion of Partnership Priorities within the framework of the European Neighborhood Policy, and convening the EU-Israel Association Council. We look forward to jointly cooperating in “Horizon Europe”, Research and Information Program

We are committed to providing full support to further our countries’ cooperation on the bilateral, trilateral and 3+1 levels and, in this spirit, we encourage synergies and initiatives in pursuit of our common objective to promote the cause of peace, security and prosperity in our region.

Defense
We welcome the ongoing cooperation between our two Ministries of Defense. We stress our common will to further enhance our cooperation in the defense field, in order to face the security challenges and threats in the East Mediterranean. Our cooperation is aimed at promoting peace, regional stability and prosperity in the wider region. Furthermore, we continue to express our concern for the dangers emanating also by terrorism, violent radicalism, and extremism in the wider region. Moreover, we confirm the importance of the cooperation between our National Security Advisers.

Energy
Taking note of the signature, on January 2nd, 2020, of the Intergovernmental Agreement on the East-Med Pipeline, recently ratified by Greece and shortly by Cyprus, we reconfirm our support and commitment to the implementation of the project, which represents a viable and strategic choice of common interest, both for our countries and for the European Union, allowing energy transfer from the Middle East through Greece to the rest of Europe. To this end, we look forward to welcoming Italy as a signatory to the Agreement soon.

We also recognize the mutual benefits attainable for our countries in energy security and economic prosperity from participating in the EuroAsia Interconnector Project, which will integrate the electric grids of Israel and Cyprus with that of the European continent.
We reiterate our support for the already established cooperation, at corporate level, in the development of natural gas reservoirs in Israel and we strongly support collaboration in the areas of renewable energy, fuel alternatives and electric vehicles, and in particular in encouraging innovation and joint pilot projects

Environment
We acknowledge the intensive cooperation between our Ministries of Environment at ministerial and professional levels both bilaterally and trilaterally with Cyprus. Recognizing that this collaboration yields mutual benefits, we agreed to continue collaboration on issues such as environmental aspects of water management, adaptation to climate change in the Mediterranean region and also preparedness and response to marine pollution, particularly pollution which might stem from oil and gas excavation activities.
We reiterate our commitment to further promote and strengthen the sustainable development and economic growth of our countries and region.

Agriculture
We aim at developing and promoting our cooperation in the agricultural sector, taking into consideration our knowledge and expertise in various agricultural areas, such as the sustainable management of water and soil, desalinated, saline and treated wastewater precision agriculture, and climate change management.
Marine aquaculture (Mariculture) and off shore fish farming, inland and coastal fishery are also industries of great interest.
We recognize that this collaboration is mutually beneficial and could promote and strengthen sustainable development.

Tourism
We recognize the sizeable significance of Tourism to our respective economies and the great potential for cooperation on joint projects and synergies. We reiterate our commitment to strengthen the collaboration of our competent authorities, in conjunction with the private sector and other stakeholders, in an effort to increase the influx of tourists to our region. We welcome the decision of our respective Ministries to promote Digital Initiatives in Tourism and other Travel-Tech initiatives, and further actions to motivate and accelerate innovation and start-ups in the field of Travel – Tech.

Development and Investments
Recognizing the importance of mutual benefits deriving from our cooperation in all sectors of economic activity, we will continue our common efforts to promote, facilitate, improve and strengthen our economic growth interconnection. We reiterate the importance we attach to promoting investment, innovation, and research between our nations, including in Industrial sectors where successful collaboration already exists, such as pharmaceuticals and shipbuilding. In particular, Israel presented the “Tracks for Regional Peace” initiative; we reiterated our commitment to further deepen our cooperation, by enhancing the exchange of information, know-how and best practices among respective administrations.

Cyber
Recognizing the increasing dependency of our societies and economies to the cyber domain, and noting the exponential growth of cyber threats, we welcome the efforts to further enhance cooperation between our two countries and respective authorities. We pledge to continue our collaboration in a number of areas of common interest including through the exchange of expertise, best practices, and regulatory frameworks relevant to cyber security. We desire to promote an open, free, secure and peaceful cyberspace, which drives economic growth, protects national security and promotes international stability. In this context, we note with satisfaction the issuing of a Joint Declaration between our respective national agencies.

Research and Innovation
We acknowledge the importance of Research and Innovation as major drivers for technological advancement and economic growth. We reaffirm our commitment in further promoting Innovation through sharing of knowledge, and best practices and linking of our startup ecosystems. We recognize the positive results of our bilateral cooperation and intend to work closely together on projects that target sectors of mutual interest. We also acknowledge the importance of enhancing trilateral and multilateral cooperation promoted via platforms such as the European Framework program to tackle societal and economic challenges in our region.

Conclusion:
The meetings that took place today demonstrate the wide range and depth of connections between our governments and our peoples and reflect the strategic partnership that underpins our relations and guides our common path into the future. Joint Declarations in the fields of Tourism, Agriculture as well as in the field of Cybersecurity and Energy were signed. These documents will further increase cooperation between the two countries and benefit our peoples and the region. In this spirit, the Prime Ministers reaffirmed their commitment to continuous and close cooperation between the two Governments and will convene to conduct the fifth round of High Level Cooperation Council in Greece, in 2021. Both Prime Ministers instructed the foreign Ministries to prepare for the next meeting.

Meetings of the Ministers of Defence Ministers

The issues of strengthening cooperation between Greece and Israel in the field of Defence and Security, with emphasis on joint air and naval activities, as well as the promotion of cooperation in the field of defence industry, were discussed by the Minister of National Defence, Nikolaos Panagiotopoulos and his Israeli counterpart, and Alternate Prime Minister Benjamin Gantz on the occasion of the Greek PM and the Greek delegation’s visit to Israel.

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