NEWS

Israel attaches importance to Greek PM’s visit

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Israel wants to see a normalization of relations with Turkey on the condition that there will be similar changes in rhetoric and policy-making from Ankara, Israeli Ambassador in Athens Yossi Amrani said on Thursday, speaking ahead of the scheduled visit by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis to Jerusalem on December 7 and the tripartite meeting that will take place on the same day between Greece, Israel and Cyprus.

He noted Turkey’s efforts to improve relations with various countries in the region, following a long-running deterioration in bilateral ties due to Ankara’s stance.

Regarding Israeli-Turkish relations, he referred indirectly but clearly to the need for Ankara to end its support for various Islamist and terrorist groups. “It depends more on Turkey and less on Israel,” he said, adding that his country’s relationship with Greece and Cyprus is distinct and not part of a zero-sum game. 

The ambassador said the visit has two main priorities, which are for Mitsotakis and Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett to get to know each other better and to strengthen the existing relationship with a view to the future. 

Amrani noted that an indication of the importance Israel attaches to the trip is that Mitsotakis’ five-hour visit is the only one that will take place in the next two weeks, as all others have been postponed or canceled.

The Israeli diplomat referred to the value that Greece has as an “adhesive” that will bring many countries from the region together, while he also made several references to the United Arab Emirates, with which a quadripartite has already taken place, last April in Cyprus. He also welcomed the plan to turn Egypt into an energy hub for the Middle East and Greece into the same for Europe.

Amrani added there is always room for more agreements between Israel and Greece, noting that Jerusalem has a serious interest in cooperating in the field of research and development.