Statement by the Hellenic Ministry of Foreign Affairs with title “Minister of Foreign Affairs George Gerapetritis’ statements following his meeting with his Israeli counterpart Eli Cohen (Athens, 06.07.2023)”:
I warmly welcome the Foreign Minister of Israel to Athens today. He is the first counterpart I’ve received since taking office.
And I am doubly delighted, because he is an Israeli Foreign Minister who comes from our homeland, from Corfu.
I’m also glad because this visit confirms our common will to expand our close strategic relationship; a strategic relationship based on shared firm principles and values, such as the fight against anti-Semitism, the strong bonds of friendship between our two peoples, as well as our shared vision for the consolidation of peace, security and stability in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East.
We are closely monitoring developments in the region and we are concerned about the escalation of violence. We condemn terrorism in all its forms.
Violence is clearly neither a solution nor an answer. And the right of all states to security must be fully respected.
What is needed now is calm and restraint by all in order to de-escalate the crisis. And I’d like to reiterate Greece’s well-known position in favour of a mutually acceptable solution to the Palestinian issue, as we believe that this would serve the interests of both sides and peoples.
We had the opportunity today to discuss our growing bilateral cooperation in a wide range of areas, from economy and investment to tourism, high technology and defence.
We certainly look forward to further enhancing this cooperation. In 2022, the volume of our bilateral trade reached EUR 1.4 billion.
We believe that there’s significant scope for further promoting our trade relations. And that also applies to Israeli investments in Greece.
In the energy sector in particular, where Greece has taken important steps, turning the country into a reliable energy hub contributing to the diversification of European energy supply.
We referred with the Minister to our cooperation in international organizations, and allow me to thank you, Minister, for the Israeli support towards Greece’s candidacy for the UN Security Council for the 2025-2026 term.
I reiterated Greece’s active support for the Abraham Accords and their further expansion, as well as for the further deepening of EU-Israel relations, in particular through Israel’s participation in EU programs.
We also discussed our trilateral cooperation with Cyprus and the next steps we can plan, especially in view of the 9th Trilateral Summit in Cyprus.
We both emphasized the importance of the “three plus one” (3+1) cooperation format with the United States of America and the need to broaden and deepen the various areas of cooperation. Greece, Cyprus, Israel and the US are states that I believe are united, with shared interests and values.
Furthermore, we affirmed our willingness, Minister, to promote other cooperation formats, such as the quadrilateral cooperation between Greece, Cyprus, Israel and the United Arab Emirates.
Regarding the situation in the Eastern Mediterranean, I informed my counterpart that Greece is ready to leverage the positive climate that has been created with Türkiye, so that conditions for dialogue be shaped, on the basis, of course, of International Law and the Law of the Sea in particular.
In addition, I had the opportunity to emphasize Greece’s firm interest in preserving the multi-religious and multicultural character of the Holy Sites and protecting the privileges and property of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem.
Honorable Minister, dear Eli, it was a great pleasure and honor to welcome you to Greece; welcome to our country.
I promise that I will also contribute to tourism to Israel soon. Very soon, to be precise.