ATHENS – President of the Hellenic Republic Katerina Sakellaropoulou on Thursday received the President of Israel, Isaac Herzog, who is paying an official visit to Greece at the invitation of his Greek counterpart.
Welcoming the Israeli President, Sakellaropoulou stressed that “unfortunately, the circumstances have changed the course of events considerably.”
“With this attack, Russia is blatantly violating international law and endangering security and stability, not only in Europe but globally,” she said.
At the same time, she pointed out that “as has been written, this attack is likely to develop into the biggest war in Europe after the World War II” and added: “It is important that the European institutions have already unequivocally condemned this attack.”
“The thoughts of us all are with the Ukrainian people, who are suffering. I want to remain hopeful that we will not mourn the loss of human life and that Russia, at the last minute, will understand the consequences of this action and withdraw its troops, respecting Ukraine’s territorial sovereignty and integrity.”
In fact, she stressed the importance of unity in Europe, saying: “I also believe that Europe will remain united at this critical time and that no one will be allowed to take humanity back to the 19th century.”
Referring to Greek-Israeli bilateral relations, she stressed that “our two countries, especially in recent years, have a strategic relationship, mainly due to the friendship between the peoples, but also to their common vision for security and stability in the region.”
Concluding, she pointed out: “After the talks that we will have, this relationship can develop even further, because it is a common goal of our countries to expand cooperation, so that they can be a pillar of stability in our region, which so greatly needs it.”
On his part, Israeli President Isaac Herzog, after thanking Sakellaropoulou for the warm welcome, stressed that “we are facing a historic and complex moment in history” and that, since this morning, he has been very concerned over developments.
He added that his thoughts are with the innocent citizens of Ukraine and he prays that for a return to normalcy.
“I take this opportunity to call on all Israelis in Ukraine to return immediately to Israel…and of course my thoughts are directed to the local Jewish community,” he added.
Regarding Israeli-Greek relations, he noted that his visit comes to emphasise the excellent relations that already exist between the two countries but also what more can be done to further develop bilateral ties, for the benefit of the two countries and the Eastern Mediterranean in general.
“We have a lot in common. I take this opportunity, as I told you before, to invite you to come to my country, to visit Israel, to see how much Greek culture and Greece in general have influenced my country and people,” he said.
Finally, he underlined that “we must continue to work together to tackle climate change and the other challenges that lie ahead,” and expressed hope that “the talks between us will be good and further cement our excellent relations, both in the human and the social spheres. Thank you again and I hope that from now on we will receive only good news.”