Greece, Israel envisage ‘strategic cooperation’

Athens and Tel Aviv have agreed to strengthen bilateral ties, the leaders of the two Mediterranean countries said on Tuesday.

During an official visit by Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras in Israel on Tuesday, in which he is accompanied by several of his ministers including Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos, the two states signed a number of agreements and collaboration protocols.

In comments made after his meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Samaras emphasized the need for strategic cooperation between the two countries. He said that Greece and Cyprus, both members of the European Union, could gradually become Israel’s link with the bloc.

“A lot remains to be done; this is still the beginning,” Samaras said.

Netanyahu praised Greece’s conservative premier for his handling of the country’s ongoing debt crisis which, he said, “required courage and strength.”

“Something is changing in Greece. I am encouraging Israeli [businesses] to invest in Greece,” Netanyahu said.

The Israeli leader also congratulated Samaras for the government’s efforts to clamp down on far right extremism.

Earlier, Samaras visited the Holocaust Museum and signed in the guestbook with the phrase: “Never again.”