President Rivlin sits with Egyptian ambassador Khaled Azmi.
(photo credit: HAIM ZACH/GPO)
The strains of the national anthems of Jordan and Egypt rang out on Thursday from the official residence of the president of Israel.
The occasion was the presentation of letters of credence by Jordanian ambassador Ghassen Majali and Egyptian ambassador Khaled Azmi who were each greeted effusively in Arabic by President Reuven Rivlin.
In his welcome to Majali, Rivlin said that it gave him a lot of pleasure and satisfaction to welcome the ambassador of Jordan, the country with which Israel has the longest border.
“We are not only two peoples, we are neighbors who breathe the same air and drink the same water,” Rivlin said. There are many projects that Israel and Jordan can work on together to bring prosperity to the whole region, he said, adding, “We have to find economic advantages that we can achieve together.” Rivlin referred to the Dead Sea area and the Jordan River, and said he could visualize the day when such joint projects would bring millions of tourists to both Jordan and Israel.
Rivlin said he was also certain that Majali can increase awareness for the region that the Jordan Valley is a microcosm for enabling people to live in peace and bring an end to hatred and hostility.
Majali said the resumption of the peace process and a sovereign Palestinian state living in peace alongside Israel were priorities for Jordan. He later wrote in the guest book, “May peace and prosperity prevail for our people.”
Following remarks by Rivlin about 40 years of peace with Egypt and President Anwar Sadat’s visit to Jerusalem, Rivlin noted that Azmi is Egypt’s seventh ambassador to Israel.
Azmi responded that the signing of a peace agreement was the vision of a great statesman that led to the paving of peace in the region. He pledged that Egypt will continue to work toward peace and stability in the region, serve as a role model of tolerance and acceptance, and continue its efforts to bring to an end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Rivlin lauded Egypt as being important to the stability of the region in which both countries are facing so many challenges, including fundamentalism. Relating to the more than 40 years since Sadat’s visit, Rivlin emphasized the significance of nations communicating peacefully.
Without the intervention of President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi,
he said, relating to Gaza, “we would find ourselves in a disastrous situation – even a war.”
Other ambassadors who presented credentials were: Dr. Vesela Mrdan Korac of Croatia, Martin Stropnicky of the Czech Republic just in time for the visit of his president to Israel later this month, and Bold Ravdan, the non-resident ambassador of Mongolia, who is based in Ankara, but who said that his country was interested in opening an embassy in Israel. He declared that although Israel is small in size, it is huge in achievements.
There had been no Croatian Ambassador to Israel since the departure of Pjer Simunovic in April 2016, when he was recalled due to a political crisis. He is currently Croatia’s ambassador to the US. Rivlin was pleased to meet the articulate Korac to whom he voiced Israel’s appreciation for Croatia’s support for Israel in public forums. He also expressed appreciation for the warm reception and hospitality that he had received in Croatia when he visited last July, adding that he looked forward to reciprocating when President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic visits Israel next year.
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