The two prime ministers said their talks focused on common interests and challenges both countries face but also on their common goal of ensuring prosperity and stability in the wider Eastern Mediterranean region.
As regards tourism Netanyahu spoke of about a million tourists from Israel who choose Greece as their destination every summer while Mitsotakis announced that from 1 August Israeli tourists will be able to travel to Greece again.
The PM stressed that Greece’s top priority is to maintain safety and health which of course is of great concern to tourists as well.
Turkey as neighbourhood bully
Mitsotakis also denounced «Turkey’s aggressive behaviour in the eastern Mediterranean», stressing that Ankara’s actions are a threat against stability and peace in the region.
«We will always seek peace, with respect for international law,» the Greek Prime Minister stressed, adding that this is exactly what the country did when it signed an agreement with Italy a few days ago on delimiting the tw Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).
He also said that he and the Israeli Prime Minister had taken part in a joint initiative of countries for the smart management of the coronavirus pandemic.
«We are also vigilant for the next day,» the PM said, noting that Greece will welcome direct flights to all of its main destinations from July 1.
«If necessary, we will extend the tourist season until October-November,» he said, noting that both countries are tourist destinations.
«It is important to open Greece to foreign tourists, but health is number one,» he added.
He also said that both recognised that «we must have a restart in the economy» and that there are many investment opportunities in Greece today.
«You want talented engineers, we have them in abundance. We offer you a gateway to the European market «, he continued while stating that the two countries will sign protocols on agriculture, cyber-security and that he will have a meeting with Israeli investors who are either already in Greece or interested in investing in the country.
«We can do much more in the field of defence cooperation. We talked about East Med, and about Turkey’s actions. The Turkish actions are a threat to the region. We will always seek peace in accordance with international law and the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea,» he said, adding that the two countries’ strategic relationship could be further strengthened.
«We always feel at home when we are in Israel and I believe the same happens to Israelis when they are in Greece,» Mitsotakis stated.
On his part, Benjamin Netanyahu spoke of the enormous opportunities for a collaboration between the two countries, stressing that «prosperity can only be ensured through cooperation and security.»
«Greece has great talent and scientists. But Israel also has guarantees in this area. Greece has opportunities for investment «, the Israeli Prime Minister underlined, noting that the number of Israeli visitors to Greece has tripled in recent years, and in particular that 1.2 million Israelis visited Greece last year.
Israeli interest in high-tech collaboration
Greece and Israel have a strategic, in-depth relationship, Mitsotakis told Greek journalists on Tuesday after his meeting with Netanyahu in Jerusalem earlier in the day, and will expand it in several sectors.
Aside from defense, tourism, the green economy, water management and innovation, Mitsotakis said, «I see keen interest in the high-technology sector, for the simple reason that Israel has significant enterprises and we have the engineers, the human resources and access to the European market.»
Bilateral collaboration agreements, he said, included the sector of cybersecurity, which he named as «one particular emphasis in our collaboration.»
Asked whether they discussed Turkey, the prime minister said that he spoke to Netanyahu of Turkey’s «destabilizing role in the East Mediterranean». Mitsotakis also referred to the Greek-Italian agreement on maritime zones as an example of agreements that respect international laws.
As noted earlier, Mitsotakis said that «if all goes well, we will be welcoming Israeli tourists to Greece as of August 1.» He considered it possible to extend the tourism period «to October, and even November, to cover some of the lost ground» due to the restrictions resulting from the coronavirus pandemic.
Pressed as to whether he planned to reshuffle his cabinet, the Greek prime minister said, «You’re using the wrong word. The right one is ‘corrective action’.»