Greek Defense Minister Gerasimos Arsenis wrapped up a three-day visit to Israel this week by signing a military cooperation agreement that reflected an atmosphere of improved relations between the two countries.
The agreement is “an important landmark in relations governing our defense structures,” Prime Minister Yithak Rabin said Sunday.
The agreement, signed by Rabin and Arsenis, provides for joint military exercises in the Eastern Mediterranean, reciprocal training of officers and a general framework for arms sales.
“We believe both countries should strengthen their relations and cooperation in the security area, especially now when there are dramatic developments in the Middle East and Europe,” Arsenis told the Hebrew daily Ha’aretz.
He added that Israel and Greece can break into new markets using Israel’s technological know-how and Greece’s marketing advantage as a member of NATO.
Arsenis’ visit to Israel was the first ever made by Greek defense minister.
Greece, which in the past strongly supported Palestine Liberation Organization Chairman Yasser Arafat, has adopted a warmer stance toward Israel in the wake of the signing of the Palestinian self-rule accord last year in Washington.