PM invited by Borissov; Holds meetings with officials from Bulgaria, Greece, Romania and Serbia centered on increased cooperation and East Med pipeline; Netanyahu: We can do a lot more together, and we in Israel are eager to do so…
Prime Minister Netanyahu made history as the first foreign leader to attend the Craiova Group summit in Bulgaria.
The summit was attended by officials from Bulgaria, Greece, Romania and Serbia, Prime Minister Netanyahu attending on Friday. He held meetings on the sidelines with European officials including Bulgaria’s Prime Minister Boyko Borissov, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and Romania’s Prime Minister Viorica Dancila.
Netanyahu gave an address to the summit, centered on growing relations with the State of Israel and the common threat of radical Islam, terrorism and Iran. He spoke of Israel’s provision of intelligence to European states in combatting and preventing terrorism amidst ongoing anti-Semitism, reporting of the “dozens of terrorist attacks on the soil and in the skies of Europe, we have prevented, and we do so with excellent cooperation from your various services.”
The prime minister then highlighted three areas of importance for the region’s future: technology, energy and security.
On the “extraordinary revolution” of technology, Netanyahu stated “Israel is an innovation nation. We have 8,000 startups and the number is growing all the time – anything from cybersecurity to health, water management, IT, every field, every single field: growing food, making crops last longer, making them better suited for people’s diets and so on. These things we want to share, are eager to share with our friends here in various ways. And I think the future belongs to those who innovate.” On cooperation with Israel, he stated “We can do a lot more together, and we in Israel are eager to do so. We discussed some ideas of how to do that. And we’re already doing some of that. There is more to be done, more to be done…”
He then spoke on energy and “how Israel can help meet the energy goals of the countries represented here. We have two projects that we discussed… the East Med pipeline. This will be the longest underwater gas pipeline in the world. It will go from our gas fields in the Eastern Mediterranean through Cyprus, to Crete, to Greece and to Italy and possibly go up to the Balkans. We discussed that. We are now in the feasibility phase. We want to move it very rapidly, and I hope that the feasibility shows that it can be done, because if it can be done, it must be done. And I think that this will be a great assistance to, well, to us exporting this gas, to you in diversifying your gas resources. So we’re discussing this in a very serious way, in a very purposeful way.”
On security, Netanyahu spoke of the common enemies of ISIS, Al-Qaeda and extremist Shiite front led by Iran. Specifically Iran and the newest wave of US sanctions he stated “Iran is posing a great danger to the world. President Trump on Sunday will issue new sanctions against Iran. I want you to know that the sanctions that have already been imposed, we could see a marked decrease in the amount of money that goes to these various aggressive and terrorist activities of Iran. It’s already showing its signs, and I believe that Iranian aggression will be further constricted by these sanctions, and I hope that all the countries here will join in this effort.” On Iran’s growth in the region, he stated “The most potent force of militant Islam is the Iranian regime. It is devouring one nation after the other – in Syria, in Lebanon, in Iraq and elsewhere. And it’s killing civilians around the world.”
On the recent murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Saudi Arabia, Netanyahu spoke of the importance of regional stability. He stated “Saudi Arabia [must] remain stable… I think that the larger problem is Iran, and I think that we have to make sure that Iran does not continue the malign activities that it has been doing over the last two weeks in Europe.”
The prime minister confirmed Israel recently provided intelligence to France and Denmark, thwarting terror attacks. He reported “We have helped uncover two terrorist attacks, one in Paris and the other one in Copenhagen, organized by the Iranian secret service. These are part and parcel of the cooperation that we have with the countries represented here. I have to say that there’s something beyond interests here. It is common values. It is also a great sympathy, sympathy of our people.”
Amir will talk about this and much more during his Middle East Current Events Update this evening from Jerusalem. Tune in at 20:00 ISRAEL TIME.
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