A man holds up a Greek national flag during a demonstration in support of Greece.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
With Greece’s future shrouded in great uncertainty, Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias spoke in Jerusalem on Monday of developing an axis of security and stability among Israel, Greece, and Cyprus inside what he called a regional “triangle of destabilization.”
Speaking alongside Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu before their meeting, Kotzias said that, “We are living inside a triangle of destabilization,” which he said begins “at the top” with Ukraine, and extends on one side to Libya, and on the other through Iraq and Syria.
“We have to create inside this triangle a security and stability framework, and the relations between Israel, Cyprus and Greece are very important,” he said. “I call it the stabilization line in this area.”
Kotzias was appointed in January, after the elections brought to power the radical- left Syriza Party, whose leaders in the past took a strongly pro-Palestinian position.
The Israeli-Greek relationship, which has flowered over the last five years, has not been adversely impacted by the change in government.
“We think that there is a mutual desire for the dynamic deepening of the strategic cooperation between our two friendly peoples,” he said.
“When I see people coming from Israel, I always think these people, this population, loves Greece so much – but we have to learn to love Israel in the same way.”
Netanyahu said that he appreciates that Kotzias – on his first visit to Israel since becoming foreign minister – went ahead with the three day trip “despite some rather dramatic events in your country.”
What this demonstrates, Netanyahu said, “was the real commitment we have to strengthen the friendship between our two countries.”
Israel would help in any way it could to Greece’s economic recovery, “not only because of friendship, but also because I think we live in an interwoven world where the stability of one country affects the stability of many countries,” Netanyahu said.
Saying that Israel and Greece are allies in the fight against terrorism and extremist Islam, Netanyahu reminded his guest that an Iranian-Hezbollah cell was recently uncovered in Cyprus, where a terrorist who was just sentenced to six years in prison was arrested for stockpiling tons of ammonium-nitrate fertilizer that can be used to make explosives. The amount of ammonium-nitrate found, he said, was what was used in the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995.
Netanyahu also mentioned reports of an Iranian-backed cell recently uncovered in Jordan.
And, as he does at every photo opportunity with visiting statesmen, Netanyahu continued to rail against the Iranian nuclear deal being negotiated in Vienna.
Netanyahu asserted that almost every day there are more concessions by the world powers – the US, Russia, China, Germany, Britain, and France – negotiating with Iran.
“I can say that what we see in Vienna is not a breakthrough, but more of a breakdown of the principles that the P5+1 committed itself to in the Lausanne negotiations,” he said, referring to the framework deal signed in April in Lausanne.
“This deal will pave Iran’s path to a nuclear arsenal, it will give them a jackpot of hundreds of millions of dollars with which to continue to fund their aggression and terrorism.
Aggression in the region, terrorism throughout the world,” he said, repeating his objections to the deal.
He added that it is preferable to have no deal than this very bad one.