‘’Israel is one of the EU’s closest partners in the Middle East and there are a number of global challenges we need to face together, not least Russia’s brutal war of aggression in Ukraine, including Russia’s military cooperation with Iran,” said the EU’s foreign policy chief.
Eearlier this week, Eli Cohen also spoke with several of his European counterparts.
European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell has invited the new Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen to Brussels, his spokesperson, Peter Stano, said.
On Thursday, Borrell held a phone conversation with the Israeli minister. ‘’ In this first constructive exchange, the High Representative for foreign policy and Vice-President of the European Commission, expressed his and EU’s wish to build on the recent momentum in EU-Israel relations, following October’s resumption of the Association Council after a ten-year pause, and a number of recent high-level visits,’’ the EU spokesperson said.
He added that ‘’Israel is one of the EU’s closest partners in the Middle East and there are a number of global challenges we need to face together, not least Russia’s brutal war of aggression in Ukraine, including Russia’s military cooperation with Iran.’’
In the conversation, Borrell welcomed Israel’s normalisation of relations with a number of Arab countries and reiterated the EU’s willingness to support this development. He expressed the hope that this will have a positive impact on the Middle East Peace Process.
Borrell also reiterated ‘’the EU’s support for the two-state solution, and the need to restore a political horizon to resolve the conflict.’’ ‘’In light of current developments, the HR/VP also recalled known EU positions on the need to avoid unilateral actions and expressed strong concerns about the high number of victims,’’ the spokesperson added.
Cohen reportedly thanked Borrell for his good wishes on his entry into the ministry and welcomed the progress in the E.U.-Israel relationship, saying that the E.U.-Israel Association Council meeting held in October 2022, for the first time in 10 years, was an important step towards better relations
Borrell and Cohen have agreed to meet at the earliest possible opportunity to continue their dialogue in person, possibly at the Munich Security Conference in February.
In a speech to the Israeli foreign ministry personnel last week, Cohen stressed that ”as Minister of Foreign Affairs, I will work to further promote Israel’s position in the world, strengthen international relations, and establish diplomatic relations with other countries.”
He added, ”2023 is a year of opportunities and challenges. The State of Israel has reached the point where it has security, intelligence and technological capabilities, energy independence and energy reserves, as well as the Abraham Accords that have proven their contribution to the countries that took part in them.
earlier this week,”
”The challenges faced by Europe vis-à-vis security and energy position Israel as a key player. This is an opportunity to deepen and strengthen the relationship with European countries in comparison to recent years,” the Foreign Minister said.
Besides Borrell, Cohen spoke also with his counterparts from Croatia, Cyprus, and Guatemala over the last two days.
On Thursday, Cohen talked to Croatian Foreign Minister Gordan Grlić-Radman. He expressed his appreciation to Grlić-Radman for Croatia’s opposition to the recent U.N. General Assembly resolution regarding the International Court of Justice in The Hague.
The Israeli minister referred to the enormous potential for deepening the relationship and cooperation between Israel and Croatia in the fields of science, agriculture, energy, innovation and cyber. He noted that the approaching signing of a joint statement between the two countries will be a significant step in that direction.
Cohen also spoke with Cypriot Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides with whom he emphasized the strategic bilateral relations between Israel and Cyprus and the importance of cooperation in the field of energy.
Earlier this week, Cohen also spoke with the foreign ministers of the United Kingdom, Germany, Austria, the Netherlands and Estonia. He was slated to hold a call with his Ukrainian counterpart, Dmytro Kuleba, later on Thursday.