(Communicated by the Foreign Minister’s Bureau)
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Avigdor Liberman met today (Tuesday 29 May 2012) in Jerusalem with the President of the Federal Republic of Germany, Joachim Gauck.
At the meeting, President Gauck and FM Liberman discussed the Israel-German bilateral relationship, and agreed that the relationship is based on true friendship between the countries. FM Liberman said that the good relationship has borne real fruit, and noted the bilateral youth exchange program, the first round of which ended successfully last week. FM Liberman stated that such initiatives are of great importance for the strengthening and tightening of the bilateral relationship.
President Gauck and FM Liberman also discussed Israel’s relationship with the Palestinians, the situation in the Middle East, Syria and Egypt, and Turkey’s positions and actions against the European Union and Israel.
FM Liberman said that in recent years, ever since the blatant and rampant attack by Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan on President Peres in Davos in 2009, Israel has reacted with utmost restraint to all Turkish provocations. However, restraint does not mean that Israel will permit intimidation of its military officers and soldiers who were carrying out their duty in accordance with the highest moral standards, with full justification and in accordance with international law, a fact that was also determined by the report of the International Commission of Inquiry chaired by Justice Palmer
on the actions of IDF soldiers against the terrorist vessel Mavi Marmara
FM Liberman added: “We are hopeful that the European nations will not cooperate with the Turkish provocation of the unfounded indictment against the former IDF Chief-of-Staff and other senior officers. We are hopeful that the European nations will steer Turkey back on track and prevent the uncontrolled rampage of a NATO member state that has lost its direction and whose actions are contrary to all accepted international rules of conduct. Israel will continue to act responsibly, and, out of concern for peace and stability in the Middle East, will not allow itself to be dragged into counter-provocations against Erdogan. However, Israel’s primary concern is to maintain its sovereignty and to protect its citizens and the soldiers who protect them.”