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In Shadow of Unrest, Israel and Germany Sign Security Agreement

Agreements on combating terror, socio-economic and cultural relations inked as Egyptian dangers loom.
By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 2/1/2011, 12:31 PM / Last Update: 2/1/2011, 12:07 PM

Flash 90

 Seven new bilateral agreements were signed in Israel Monday at a joint meeting of Israeli and German Cabinet ministers.One of the agreements affirmed that the countries would increase their cooperation in fighting terror. Others dealt with bilateral socio-economic and cultural relations, according to the Prime Minister's Office.

"We are allies, Israel and Germany, and we have a great desire, on both sides, to strengthen our relationship and our bilateral cooperation," Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said Monday. "We also have the strong desire to advance peace and security in our region. Chancellor Merkel and I spoke at length about several ideas in this regard. We know that we are in a very stormy and unstable period, and we would like to advance stability, peace and security."

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said, "We have similar values, which makes it very easy for us to cooperate."

This is the third consecutive year in which the two Cabinets have held joint sessions.

The Prime Minister's office stated that Merkel and Netanyahu noted with satisfaction the progress made since the last consultations held in Berlin in January 2010. "They reiterated their objective to further solidify the unique relationship and the broad range of close ties between Germany and Israel through political measures which look towards the future while recognizing Germany's awareness of its historic responsibility towards Israel."

Highlights of the agreements reached:

National Security and National Emergencies
The Governments have agreed to strengthen and expand the cooperation in the area of homeland security, especially combating violent extremism and terrorism. Issues pertaining to national security will be added to those for which cooperation already exists in the framework of a Joint Declaration of Intent on cooperation on combating crime and terrorism.

The governments have also agreed that cooperation between the two countries in dealing with natural disasters and emergencies be extended.

Foreign Affairs
Both Foreign Ministers have signed a Joint Declaration expressing their desire to promote people-to-people relations and outlining a series of initiatives whose function will be to add another layer to the rich fabric of existing ties. Convinced that youth exchange, education and academic exchange are vital for gearing German-Israeli relations towards the future, both sides intend to put a special emphasis on these fields of cooperation. They will also cooperate on assisting in the rehabilitation of Africa's Lake Victoria.

Economics
The Governments have agreed to strengthen their cooperation in the area of developing new technologies for renewable energy, and in the areas of industrial research and development.

The Governments have agreed to cooperate and jointly promote innovations in agriculture, including dealing with the significant reduction in precipitation in the Middle East and the continued desertification.

Infrastructure/Transportation
The Governments have agreed to strengthen cooperation in the area of rail transport.  The German Government will encourage German consulting firms and infrastructure companies to take part in transportation projects in Israel, such as the Eilat railroad project.

Agriculture
The Governments have agreed to intensify cooperation in the agricultural sector. Research activities are to be continued and extended to include research into the area of the protection of stored products.

Environmental Protection
The Governments have agreed to deepen cooperation in the field of climate change following the implementation of the Israeli government's recent decision on a National Action Plan to reduce Israel's greenhouse gas emissions.  The cooperation will be significant, particularly in the field of climate change

The Governments have decided to continue the close cooperation in the field of waste management and to intensify the successful cooperation in the field of plant safety through an exchange of experts. They will concentrate on safety of industrial installations during emergency situations following natural disasters, primarily floods.

Research and Development
The Governments have agreed to hold the first German-Israeli Research Forum in June 2011.  The objective is to further develop the successful cooperation in research.  The Forum will take place in Germany.  Areas of focus will be the neurosciences, marine research/environmental science and water technology, and will include a discussion of ways to advance cooperation in regional research centers in Africa.

Additional cooperation was announced in the fields of youth, economic development cooperation, and improving governmental service to the public.