Government upbeat after Israel visit

Government upbeat after Israel visit

In the wake of the visit by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis to Jerusalem, the Greek government is reportedly satisfied with the prospects of Greek-Israeli relations which were further strengthened by recent agreements, especially in the areas of defense and cybersecurity.

During his meeting on Wednesday with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, the Greek PM said there are still “substantial opportunities to strengthen business ties.”

Mistotakis’ visit to Jerusalem took place at a critical juncture for Israel’s government as it seeks to annex parts of the West Bank where there are Jewish settlements, prompting international reactions. The Israeli side raised to Mitsotakis the issue of support for the annexation plan, while, according to sources close to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, support was also sought to reduce Iran’s influence.

The Israeli government said that Mitsotakis and Netanyahu discussed “the Iranian nuclear threat, recent regional developments, Iran’s military establishment in Syria and other bilateral and security issues.”

Mitsotakis told both Netanyahu and Rivlin that Greece is bound, especially with regard to the Jewish settlements on the West Bank, by the stance of the EU’s 27 member-states. The issue is reportedly what is currently keeping Cyprus President Nikos Anastasiadis from Jerusalem, given that Cyprus also has occupied territories (by Turkey). 

Meanwhile, Mitsotakis’ national security adviser, Alexandros Diakopoulos, warned yesterday in comments to Israel’s i24news that Turkey may become a greater threat to Israel than Iran if Greece is placed “out of the picture” in the East Med.

The next stop for Greek diplomacy in the Middle East will be in Cairo today, where Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias will hold talks with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi and his counterpart Sameh Shoukry on the demarcation of maritime boundaries.

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