Greek President Karolos Papoulias called for a viable and comprehensive solution to the Middle East problem that would be founded on the creation of an independent and democratic Palestinian state coexisting peacefully with Israel, after a meeting in Jerusalem on Monday with Israeli President Shimon Peres.
Papoulias, who on Sunday began a three-day state visit to Israel and the Palestinian Authority, stressed after talks with Peres that "for Greece, Israel's security is an essential and required parameter of a solution", and noted that the upgraded relations between Greece and Israel could bring multiple benefits to the two peoples and also to the peoples of the eastern Mediterranean.
The Greek President further noted the developments in the Arab world, speaking of "the beginning of a change that run through the geopolitical status quo in the wider region" and which,
however, "should not draw our attention away from the need to resolve the Middle East issue".
On the economic crisis in Greece, Papoulias said it was an unprecedented situation in the country's modern history, but added that "we are facing a systemic crisis of the euro, which cannot be dealt with with of-the-cuff last-minute solutions".
Papoulias stressed the need for the EU leaders to manifest the political volition and "reach immediately a comprehensive strategy that will deal with the inherent inconsistencies of the monetary union".
The President expressed satisfaction with the new momentum in Greece-Israel relations which, he said, "have as their firm foundations the common historic experiences and challenges that our two peoples have faced and continue to face in their ages-long history".
He further noted the joint decision to institute the Intergovern-mental Cooperation Council, the first meeting of which is due to take place in the coming months.
Papoulias also stressed the prospects of bilateral commercial and economic relations and the attraction of investments.
President Papoulias attends official dinner hosted by Israeli counterpart
Greek President Karolos Papoulias, speaking during the official dinner hosted in his honour by Israeli President Shimon Peres on Monday evening, highlighted as an exit to the Middle East issue the solution of two states with "Israel in safe borders next to an independent and democratic Palestine."
President Papoulias also referred to the possibility of processing and implementing an overall strategy on the new geoeconomic and geopolitical framework that is being created in the wider region, following the determining of an Exclusive Economic Zone between Israel and the Republic of Cyprus, the discovery of deposits of natural gas, as well as with the propect of carrying Cypriot natural gas to Europe via Greece.
He reiterated the need for a viable, workable and European solution to be found for the issue of Cyprus and called on Ankara to recognise the Republic of Cyprus which, as he stressed, "being a member-state of the European Union, jointly decides on the European prospect of Turkey."
Referring to the current economic crisis, President Papoulias stressed the need for "joint economic governance and bold steps towards political unification" in the framework of the Eurozone.
Peres thanks Greece for preventing Gaza flotilla sailing
Israeli President Shimon Peres on Monday thanked his visiting Greek counterpart Karolos Papoulias for Athens' sailing ban on an international flotilla that wanted to symbolically break an Israeli blockade of Gaza.
Peres expressed thanks to Papoulias, who is carrying out an official visit to Israel and the Palestinian Authority, on Greece's decision "to fulfill the instructions of the UN Secretary General
so as not to permit people wishing to misbehave, to come without control and without supervision."
Peres underlined the "importance of Greece's participation in the camp that is struggling against terrorism and in favour of peace."
The Israeli President also spoke of the "careful and legal" managing of the issue by Athens and pointed out that "Greece showed the UN that it is on its side, while offering a great deal to the people of Gaza and to peace."
He added that "you yourself had a private involvement in this. The combination of respect for the decisions of the UN with the real rapprochement against terrorism creates the respect" and also thanked his Greek counterpart for the assistance offered by Greece to the effort to extinguish the fire on Mount Karmel last summer.