President Prokopis Pavlopoulos extolled the strategic cooperation between Greece and Israel in receiving visiting Israeli President Reuven Rivlin at the presidential mansion.
Pavlopoulos said that Greece-Israel relations are at the best possible level, and that over time, they will further improve and grow deeper. One reason for this is the three-way strategic cooperation between the two countries and the Republic of Cyprus, on the issues of economics, energy, and defence, the Greek president noted.
Pavlopooulos said EU-Israel ties are of strategic significance for both sides, and that its Israel’s democratic institutions and outlook bring Israel closer to Europe, than perhaps other regional countries.
‘’This is why we support convening as soon as possible the Israel-European Union Association Council,’’ the Greek president declared.
Message to Turkey
While underlining that Greece seeks good relations with all its neighbours, Pavlopoulos called on Ankara to respect international law, and in particular the Lausanne Treaty and the Law of the Sea, and set aside its claims of grey zones in the Aegean, a theory under which Ankara is attempting to claim dozens of Greek rock islets in the Aegean.
The Greece-Israel strategic partnership is widely viewed as a deterrent against Turkish aggression by both Greece and Cyprus, but Athens underlines that it in no way targets Ankara.
The remarks came one day after a Turkish Coast Guard ship, the Guvenlik, attempted to impede Defence Minister Panos Kammenos from approaching the area near the Greek islets of Imia and throwing a wreath in the water. The three Greek officers who died there when their helicopter crashed into the sea when they flew to defend the islands are remembered as heroes.
Greece requests Israeli support
‘’Because the common denominator in our relationship is full respect for international law in its entirety, we ask of your friendly country its support in the pursuit of Greek national issues, which are also European Union issues», Pavlopoulos said.
Thessaloniki Holocaust Museum
Pavlopoulos said that he signed the requisite presidential decree for the construction of a new Holocaust Museum in Thessaloniki. Rivlin and Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras will attend the groundbreaking ceremony tomorrow.
‘’We Greeks believe that this museum is the least honour we can pay to the sacred memory of our Jewish compatriots…It will function as a cradle of valuable lessons for the future. It will inspire us not to forget that the remnants of Nazism and its savagery continue to appear, and to remind us that we have a duty to humanity and to democracy to fight in unison and decisively for its final eradication, as it constitutes a threat to all humanity,’’ Pavlopoulos said during joint statements.
Pavlopoulos said Greece views regional issues without exclusions, and without turning against any third party, and that Athens wants to promote long-term peace, with an end to the war and eradication of the barbarism of ISIS, ‘’which commits crimes against humanity’’.