Jerusalem, July 25, 2016/Independent Balkan News Agency
Cyprus and Israel are two small democracies in the Eastern Mediterranean which share common challenges and common opportunities, in security cooperation, gas, emergency cooperation, commerce, tourism, and many other fields, Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday evening, welcoming Cyprus President, Nicos Anastasiades, with whom he held talks in Jerusalem.
Netanyahu noted that he is particularly proud to have the opportunity to continue the dialogue that Israel, Cyprus and Greece began on a tripartite basis in the Nicosia Summit, adding that “we are continuing those discussions both bilaterally and multilaterally.”
On his part, Anastasiades said that “we are reliable partners that see eye to eye on a wide agenda of issues, ranging from energy to security to a very sincere, open and frank political dialogue,” adding that “we have been tightening our areas of cooperation from tourism, to education and business, sharpening our joint training, and through continuous coordination, have been forming a common language.”
“This common language enables us to stand by each other in these challenging times as we are faced with so many attacks against our common values. This is true in our immediate region, but also in many parts of the world,” he noted.
According to an official press release issued here, President Anastasiades, who is paying a one day working visit to Israel, arrived at 7pm at the Prime Ministerial Office accompanied by the Minister of Foreign Affairs Ioannis Kasoulides, the Minister of Energy, Commerce, Industry and Tourism Yiorgos Lakkotrypis and the Government Spokesman Nikos Christodoulides.
Upon President Anastasiades’ arrival at the Prime Ministerial Office, Netanyahu said in his welcoming remarks that “Cyprus and Israel are two small democracies in the Eastern Mediterranean. We also share common challenges and also common opportunities, in security cooperation, in gas, in emergency cooperation, commerce, tourism, many many fields.”
He said that he will never forget that “in 2010 when we faced a ferocious forest fire, the first country I called was Cyprus. They offered to send a plane they did send it and it was a privilege to reciprocate last month when you faced a ferocious forest fire and we sent our planes to extinguish your flames,” he added.
He noted that “back in April the two nations, along with Greece, conducted a joint fire fighting exercise to enhance our regional cooperation in emergency situations and that is exactly the kind of thing that friends do, they come to each other’s help in times of need but also cooperate in good times, cooperate to make times better.”
“And that is why I am particularly proud to have this opportunity to continue the dialogue we began on a tripartite basis in the Nicosia Summit. We are continuing those discussions both bilaterally and multilaterally, and we continue to send our people. But of course we know as leaders that there is no substitute for the meeting of the people at the top,” he noted.
On his part President Anastasiades said that he looked forward to their meeting to discuss “how to enhance more our bilateral relations in the field of energy, security, economy and trade, to exchange views on the regional developments, to brief you on the negotiations for the Cyprus Problem, and of course, to prepare for the next trilateral meeting later this year with our Greek colleague, here in Jerusalem, in order to continue the work which we started in Nicosia in January.”
Anastasiades expressed to Netanyahu, to the people and government of the State of Israel, his gratitude, and the gratitude of the Cypriots, “for the indispensable assistance which you have offered recently during the terrible forest fires in Cyprus.”
“I also want to especially thank the professional men and women who came to our aid. The pilots, the ground crew, the support staff, and their officers, who so quickly went on alert, flew to Cyprus and helped us in our time of need,” he added.
In the sadness of a natural disaster, he noetd, I have to point out something that gave me hope for the future: the fact that the level of mutual cooperation between Cyprus and Israel has reached the point where reaction is so swift and smooth.
“We know that we can rely on each other. And this is the result of a lot of work that we have been doing together during the past few years in bringing our countries closer,” Anastasiades noted.
He said that “these frequent meetings – this is our 5th meeting in a year – our regular talks on the telephone, and our transparency, are essential for our partnership of strategic choice, and important in understanding each other’s needs as peoples and states.”
I cannot but highlight that last week almost 80 flights took place between Israel and Cyprus. In one week, 80 flights, he added.
After the statements the President, the Prime Minister and their delegations proceeded to their meeting.
Prior to the delegation’s arrival at the Office of the Prime Minister, Minister Kasoulides met with the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Israel.
The President of the Republic and the members of the Cypriot delegation returned to Cyprus in the morning of 25 July.