Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu has expressed his appreciation to Cyprus “as a friend and a fair-minded country that understands that it is in the interest of all democracies to serve the democratic values and stand together,” describing Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades as “a great friend of Israel”.
On his part, President Anastasiades, on an official visit to Israel, extended an invitation to the Israeli Prime Minister to visit Cyprus at his earliest convenience, an invitation which Netanyahu accepted.
In remarks to the press after a brief private meeting, at Netanyahu`s office and before attending a working lunch hosted by Netanyahu for the delegations of the two sides, the Israeli Prime Minister said that “we are very close, we are close friends, and in many ways this friendship is so natural between the two democracies in the Eastern Mediterranean”, adding that their friendship is flourishing and growing.
He pointed out that on the part of the Israelis “there is an interest in tourism, which will be increasing even further. In the commercial sector and investments, we have a common interest to better the prosperity of our people and the security of the region. And these, including the field of energy, are issues we are going to discuss with you.”
The Prime Minister of Israel referred to the issue of security and said that he did not speak in abstract, but for real threats. He added that the region is suffering from terrorism. He noted that Cyprus has suffered three terrorist plots, recalling the most recent case in which the Cypriot police discovered a big quantity of ammonium nitrate in the house of a Lebanese living in the coastal town of Larnaca. “We have a common stake in battling terrorism,” Netanyahu said.
As regards Iran, he noted that “if Iran wins, the world loses” adding that a better deal can be achieved.
In his remarks, President Anastasiades said that “our agenda of discussion both bilaterally and regionally is always full and substantial and today we have an excellent opportunity to follow up on our ongoing cooperation and to review the progress of our bilateral relations.”
“Our bilateral relations are deeply rooted and our collaboration extends to all areas of public policy: Political, economic, energy, health, security and many others. My aim here is to reaffirm our commitment to the dynamic Cyprus–Israeli friendship and explore ways to practically develop it further” he added.
He said that “in the course of today’s meeting, we will certainly discuss ways to strengthen our cooperation in the field of energy and security, as well as exchange views on the next phase of the trilateral cooperation between Cyprus, Israel and Greece.”
“The diverse regional developments shall naturally be covered in light of our common aim to contribute as reliable and dependable actors to the stability of the region as a whole. We can also review ways of combating asymmetric threats such as the growing surge of terrorism” Anastasiades said.