Economic cooperation is at the core of Greek-Israeli relations, which are growing at an unprecedented pace and yielding tangible results that benefit both countries. Additionally, a joint cabinet meeting scheduled for the spring - and focusing on the entire spectrum of bilateral relations- is regarded as the next important step in bilateral relations.
In an interview with the ANA-MPA, Israeli ambassador to Greece Arye Mekel on Friday referred to Greek-Israelirapprochement, marked by what he called the historic exchange of visits by the premiers of the two countries.
He referred to the growing cooperation in the sectors of tourism, innovative management methods in agriculture and the environment, and underlined that the Greek-Israeli relations have their own value and are not the result of a turn of events or developments.
The veteran diplomat expressed Israel’s deep appreciation for the Greek government’s contribution to the peace process in the Middle East, adding that cooperation for regional peace and stability will benefit both Greece and Israel.
He also referred to the recent flurry of visits by government ministers and other officials recorded in both countries.
Referring to a joint cabinet meeting by Greece and Israel, he said it will convene possibly in the spring -- focusing on sectors such as, the economy, tourism, defence, culture and energy and underlined that it is indicative of the importance attributed to cooperation by both countries.
As regards tourism, he said cooperation is excellent and pointed out that roughly 250,000 Israeli tourists visited Greece in 2010, corresponding to a 200-percent rise. He underlined that the goal is to record a further increase in 2011.
Referring to the general economic cooperation, he said that the Israeli government has presented to the Greek government proposals for more than 12 major joint projects in sectors like, tourism, agricultural development, Renewable Energy Sources (RES), water resources and waste management, space technology and investments.
On the Greek-Israeli relations, he pointed out that a new partnership launched by the two countries was long overdue and is not related with developments in the Turkish-Israeli relations.
As regards the steps the Israeli government is willing to make for the settlement of the Palestinian issue, he said that “Israel has proved that it is ready to make the necessary sacrifices for peace but, unfortunately, many of the proposals presented to the Palestinians in the past were rejected”.
Finally, he underlined that Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu has openly expressed his support to a “two states solution”, adding that the Greek government’s support to the peace process is deeply appreciated.