Israeli President Simon Peres is visiting Greece for the first time as Head of State, to discuss co-operation between the two countries and Israeli investment in the Mediterranean country.
Greek President Karolos Papoulias welcomed Mr. Peres at the presdential mansion on Monday, saying “Your presence here highlights our two people’s desire for cooperation on various sectors."
Following his meeting with Papoulias the Israeli Prime Minister is due to hold talks with Greek Prime Minister Anthonis Samaras, followed by meetings with SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras, and PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos. During his three-day visit he will also meet with members of the Jewish community in Athens.
Peres spoke of boosting the ties between the two countries. Ekathimerini reported he said “Greece has high mountains, which will bring you tourists but you also need high technology, which will bring you investment. About 20 percent of Greece’s land can be cultivated. We can do a lot of things and would be happy if we can help. Quite a few Israeli investors are interested.”
According to To Vima Peres also praised the Greek people, saying "The Greeks are wonderful people with wonderful youth. The new generation is one that can bring development to the country wants. "
The official visit is expected to strengthen strategic ties between Israel and Greece. Greece, together with Cyprus, could become an important ally with Israel when the untapped oil and gas resources of the two countries are exploited. Additionally good relations between Israel and Greece have boosted Israeli tourism to Greece, with 400,000 Israelis already vacationing in Greece this year.
Peres has taken the time to regale the Greek media with a tale of how his father hid in a Greek monastery during the Second World War.