(Communicated by the President’s Office)
President Shimon Peres met today (Tuesday, 7 May 2013), with Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades who is visiting Israel along with a senior government delegation. The two held a short meeting before taking part in a working lunch during which they discussed strengthening the strategic and economic cooperation between the two countries.
At the beginning of the meeting President Peres said: "Cyprus is an important strategic partner for Israel. I am sure that with your experience, your trust and optimism you will make Cyprus a great island both politically and scientifically. I know that under your leadership the strategic relations between our countries will strengthen and the cooperation deepen." President Peres emphasized that the security cooperation between the two countries was increasing and thanked his counterpart for the arrest of Hezbollah operatives and terrorists who planned to launch attacks against Israeli targets and tourism centers, and for bringing them to justice. The meeting focused on the discovery of natural gas in the Mediterranean, and the President welcomed the cooperation between the two countries in the field of energy.
The President of Cyprus delivered remarks during which he stressed the commitment of Cyprus to Israel and said: "I am so glad and honored to meet you again. We are inaugurating a new era in the old existing, historical relations between our two countries. I have to say that during my presence here and the meetings I've had already with PM Netanyahu, the speaker of the house and now with you it is confirmed that we are both committed to working together because we have not only historical ties, but the same culture and the same values. We also have a common blessing; in our sea, God blessed us with energy. It is a duty to see how we can secure each other, to see how we may contribute to you and you to us. It is much better to have a neighbor close to you than a brother far away. I do believe that we have not just a neighbor and you have not just a neighbor, but a brother as well. We have to work together to bring peace, stability and prosperity."
The meeting was attended by the senior Cypriot delegation as well as senior figures from the Israeli business sector and those involved in Cyprus-Israel relations, including Tourism Minister Uzi Landau and senior diplomats.