Katsav’s first visit to Greece

Israeli President Moshe Katsav took the opportunity of his official visit to Greece last week not only to affirm an improvement in bilateral relations over the past few years but to discuss the challenges his country is facing. «Much depends on the end of terrorism,» he said, regarding chances for peace with Palestinians, in a wide-ranging interview with Kathimerini last Wednesday. «We are close to peace; we can touch it,» said Katsav, although he added that as long as Hamas persisted in saying Israel had no right to exist, no compromise was possible. As for bilateral relations, cooperation between the two countries was «not against any other element in the area and is to the benefit of both nations.» In his talks with Greek government and opposition leaders, Katsav said he had ascertained a «similar approach regarding the Hamas administration. «We are not against warm relations between Greeks and the Arab world,» he said. A bilateral research and development accord was signed during Katsav’s visit.