Israel PM seeks diplomatic support from Baltic leaders in ties with EU

Source: Xinhua| 2018-08-25 01:22:57|Editor: Shi Yinglun
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VILNIUS, Aug. 24 (Xinhua) -- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu discussed on Friday with Lithuanian and other Baltic states' leaders security, business and science cooperation, and asked for diplomatic support in Israeli's relations with the European Union (EU).

During his visit to Lithuania, Netanyahu attended a quadrilateral meeting with the prime ministers of the three Baltic states, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, to discuss cooperation.

It is the first visit by the Israeli PM to Lithuania.

"Today is a historic day, as this visit is the first visit to Lithuania by the Israeli Prime Minister, the first quadrilateral meeting, and the year is also historic, since all three Baltic countries mark the Centennial of their statehood, and Israel marks its 70th anniversary," Lithuanian Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis said in a joint press conference in Vilnius on Friday.

Skvernelis noted the meeting was productive and he sees potential "to develop the dialogue and practical cooperation" with Israel.

Israeli PM called for closer cooperation between Israel and the Baltic states, especially in science and technology.

"I'm delighted that the prime ministers accepted my invitation to have the next future Baltic States meeting in Jerusalem. We want to enhance it with the meeting of the Baltic business and technological people and scientists," Netanyahu said in a joint press conference noting that "there are tremendous intellectual powers in Israel, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania".

Prime ministers of Israeli and the Baltic states also discussed security cooperation.

"We are already cooperating in a number of security and defense related areas, and here too I think that we can do more, and we discussed this in some detail," said Netanyahu.

Netanyahu also sought for more support from the Baltic states in Israeli's relations with the EU.

"I asked the help of my friends here in making correcting in what I think is a distorted view on Israel in the EU," Netantyahu told the conference.

During the joint press conference, the Israeli PM criticized the EU for its decision to provide Iran with 18 million euros development aid to help offset the U.S. sanctions.

"This is a big mistake, it is like a poison pill to the Iranian people and to the efforts to curb Iranian aggression in the region and terror beyond the region," said Netanyahu.

Later on Friday, Skvernelis told local news agency BNS Lithuania would try to lower tensions between Israel and the EU by initiating the meeting of Israeli and the EU ministers to discuss terror threats.

"I think Lithuania now understands Israel better and this understanding could be spread out to the other EU countries," Skvernelis told BNS.

Relations between Israel and the EU, Middle East peace process, global peace and stability, and situation in Syria and Iran were discussed at Netanyahu's meeting with Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite on Friday.

Grybauskaite said that Lithuania upholds position of the UN and the EU that peace in the Middle East can be assured only by way of negotiations when a decision based on coexistence of the two states is reached.

"The status of Jerusalem is an integral part of such two-state solution package," the President's Office noted in a statement following the meeting of Lithuanian President and Israeli PM.

"The expansion of Israeli settlements in the West Bank is yet another sensitive matter in EU-Israel relations. This violates international law and makes it difficult to reach peace," said the announcement by the President's Office.