JERUSALEM — Greece and Israel have had long ties and Israeli businesses are active in Greece already, but there is still room for further growth in the relationship between the two countries, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said on Wednesday, at a meeting in Jerusalem with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin.
Mitsotakis, who is wrapping up a two-day visit to Israel at the head of a delegation of eight ministers, said that the two countries held several bilateral talks in cybersecurity, energy and defense, the latter of which can be further enhanced. He also referred to the EastMed natural gas pipeline, an emblematic project, as he called it, that will bring peace and stability in the region.
"We are opening our economy and invite Israeli companies to share in our successful journey," he said. "There are many Israeli companies that already invest in Greece, especially in real estate, but there are several other aspects of our collaboration that can be further enhanced."
The Greek premier said he had discussed with Prime Ministery Benjamin Netanyahu the opening of Greece to Israeli tourists tentatively as of August 1, and asserted that travellers' safety is the primary concern of the government.
He also spoke of the visit to Israel as being personally poignant, since it was his late father, Constantine Mitsotakis, who as prime minister had taken the courageous step to recognize Israel 30 years ago (May 1990). "As we celebrate 30 years of an uninterrupted friendship, it is important to pay tribute to this decision, which has essentially set the foundation for all we have done since," he said.
President Rivlin, in a tweet earlier in the day, said of the premier's visit, "This year we celebrate 30 years since the important decision to upgrade relations between Israel and Greece. Today we enjoy flourishing ties in a wide range of fields. That is of no surprise. After all, our two Mediterranean peoples have so much in common."
In another posting, the Israeli leader said of Mitsotakis, "His visit in these challenging days is further testimony to the strong relations between our countries. I hope flights between Tel Aviv and Athens resume soon."