Athens hails ?strategic choice? during Israeli president’s visit

Parliamentary Speaker Vangelis Meimarakis referred on Tuesday to the deepening ties between Greece and Israel as a ?strategic choice? when he presented visiting Israeli President Simon Peres with Greek Parliament?s Gold Medal.

?The cooperation between our two countries is not a product of circumstances; it is a strategic choice for peace in the region, for the use of the natural wealth they have and for cooperation in energy, tourism and culture,? said Meimarakis. ?People always have the ability to overcome crises,? said Peres. ?The future can open new roads for our two peoples, particularly in the field of science.?

In the USA, meanwhile, Republican Congressman Gus Bilirakis formed the Congressional Hellenic-Israeli Alliance, a new caucus to focus on the relationship between the United States, Greece, Israel and Cyprus.

?Greece and Israel have been strengthening bilateral ties — on various levels — for many years now,? said Bilirakis. ?This week?s trip will build upon an already strong relationship between both countries. It is in our interest to support our allies in this region and encourage further cooperation.?