Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras (L) talks with Israeli President Shimon Peres (R) during their meeting in Athens on Monday.
ATHENS (EJP)---Greece and Israel can work together in many areas, including the energy sector, to the benefit of both economies, Greek President Karolos Papoulias said at a meeting with his Israeli counterpart Shimon Peres who is on a three-day visit in Athens.
“There are significant prospects for cooperation in investment -- especially within the framework of the state-asset sales program,” Papoulias said, citing the sectors of energy, agricultural development and technology.
Eastern Mediterranean countries can work together as natural gas from Cyprus and Israel can be transported to Europe through Greece, Papoulias said.
Upon landing in the Greek capital on Monday, President Peres offered condolences to the people of Egypt for the killing on Sunday of 15 Egyptian border guards by gunmen near the Israeli border on Sunday.
“Terror harms everyone without discrimination”, said Peres, stressing the need for collaboration between Israel and Egypt to ensure security in the region.
After gunning down Egyptian security personnel the terrorists had planned to infiltrate Israel and had been stopped by Israeli security forces’ quick response, he said.
Peres underlined the need for peace and security in the Middle East.
"We want a world of tourists, not a world of terrorists," he said, referring to the effects of terrorism on the all-important tourism industry.
Peres condemned Iran's role in the unrest, saying: "I would say that the base of terrorism today is Iran. And that is why we see in Iran's leadership the core of terrorism.
Papoulias also condemned the terrorist attack and said that Greece is opposed to terror in any shape or form.
Greece is a country that suffered from acts of terrorism, he said and could therefore empathize with the Egyptian population.
The Greek President also expressed sorrow over the deaths of the Israelis who had been killed in a terrorist attack in Bulgaria last month. He said that he had been surprised that an act of terrorism had been carried out in a vacation resort, but on reflection realized that this was yet another proof of the extent to which terrorism is organized. Greece is obligated to act against terrorist elements that are working against peace and democracy, said Papoulias.
He said Greece backed the formation of an independent and democratic
Palestinian state that will co-exist peacefully with Israel.
"I want to stress that for Greece, the security of the state of Israel is a substantial and essential part of the solution," he added.
Athens, which has been traditionally pro-Arab, has recently strengthened its ties with Israel and this is the fifth visit by a top Israeli official to Greece in two years.
In March, the two countries signed an accord to lay an underwater electricity cable as a first step to transfer power between Israel and mainland Europe.
During his visit, Peres also met Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras.