JERUSALEM (JTA) – Israeli President Shimon Peres thanked his Greek counterpart, Karolos Papoulias, for his country’s help in stopping a flotilla bound for Gaza.
Peres hosted Papoulias on Monday in Jerusalem for a reception and a working meeting.
"I genuinely thank you for fulfilling the directives of the Secretary-General of the United Nations by stopping the flotilla," Peres told Papoulias. "I thank you for not allowing people interested in violating the law and disrupting order to reach Gaza, which is ruled by a terror organization.
"Greece, in an impressive manner, showed the U.N. that she stands ready to assist. Your contribution to lower tensions benefits the entire region as well as Gaza itself. You acted legally and carefully, and I thank you for your personal involvement in this matter."
Peres called the Greek president’s visit "the start of the opening of a new chapter in Greece-Israel relations. Both of our nations share an ancient past, and I believe we share a great future."
He also thanked the country for sending firefighting planes and firefighters to help in extinguishing last year’s Carmel forest fire.
During their meeting the two leaders discussed strengthening relations between Greece and Israel in a number of areas, particularly diplomatic and trade relations, Peres’ office told journalists.