Vilnius, Aug 25 (IANS) Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has discussed 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. This is the first visit by the Israeli Prime Minister 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, Xinhua reported.
Skvernelis noted the meeting was productive and he sees potential “to develop the dialogue and practical cooperation” with Israel.
Netanyahu 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”.
The Prime Ministers of Israeli and the Baltic states also discussed security cooperation.
“We are already cooperating in a number of security and defence 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 Prime Minister criticized the EU for its decision to provide Iran with 18 million euros development aid to help offset the US 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.
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.