Israeli President Isaac Herzog was personally welcomed by President Katerina Sakellaropoulou of the Hellenic Republic.
By Erin Viner
Immediately after landing in Athens on his first visit as Israeli President, Herzog laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, after which he proceeded to the Presidential Mansion in Athens.
Both nations’ anthems were performed and the delegations were presented during a ceremony at the Presidential Palace, where both leaders reviewed the Greek honor guard.
“This visit was planned as an expression of the friendship and bold partnership between our countries, a strategic partnership in this region of the Mediterranean Sea. This partnership is rooted chiefly in our shared values, our shared interests, our friendship, and our great proximity,” said President Herzog at the start of the diplomatic working meeting with his Greek counterpart.
The statements come ahead of Herzog’s slated visit to Turkey next month, amid Ankara’s efforts to repair a deep diplomatic rift with Jerusalem. Turkey is also embroiled in major disputes with Greece over energy rights in the East Mediterranean, as well as the migrant crisis in Europe.
“I believe, and I have from the first moment I entered office, that all nations in this region of the Mediterranean must work together, certainly in the face of common challenges, such as the climate crisis, and I am sure that our conversations on this matter will be very important,” said President Herzog, adding that his visit “is taking place to produce additional results for the excellent relations between our states, in terms of culture, history, values, and especially—on the human level.”
After thanking the Greek leader for the warm reception, President Herzog invited her to visit Israel, “where you will see how strong, admired, and beloved Greek culture is and to what degree Greece is beloved among Israelis.”
The Presidential Summit follows the 16 February signing of a Joint Plan of Action for 2022 for military cooperation during a trilateral meeting of the IDF, the Hellenic Armed Forces and Cypriot National Guard.