PM: 'Sandstorm Across Mideast'

'There is one stable country in between and that's Israel,' Netanyahu tells Chilean president - the first to visit Israel in 40 years.

Gil Ronen, | updated: 20:44

Chile President Pinera with Netanyahu 6.3
Chile President Pinera with Netanyahu 6.3
Israel news photo: Flash 90


"There is an earthquake and a sandstorm seizing the entire area from Afghanistan to Gibraltar," Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told visiting Chilean president Sebastian Pinera Sunday. "There is one stable country in between and that's Israel, because we are firmly anchored in democratic values, and we hope for the best in our region," he added. 
After meeting Pinera, Netanyahu introduced his guest to the Cabinet and said that that the two countries are advancing a bilateral free trade agreement and an agreement against double taxation. He also reported on possible bilateral cooperation in the fields of solar energy, seawater desalination and agriculture. 
Pinera has visited Israel before, but his present visit is the first time in 40 years that a president of Chile visits the Jewish State. 
"We want to see the Arab world and many of the Islamic countries transform into real, stable democracies," Netanyahu told his ministers as his guest listened. "This is good for peace, providing that it happens."
"But as we discussed, we are concerned with the possibility that one country, Iran, will be immune to all the pressures of democratization; will continue to butcher its people; will continue to abuse human rights, women, gays; and will continue to propel terrorism and violence and instability to the rest of the world, including your part of the world." 
"Therefore we think that pressure should be placed on Iran as forcefully, as openly, and in as a determined fashion as it is put now, for example, on Libya.  If there are calls to put Libya, and Libya's leader and his generals on a watch list of human-rights violators, who could be held responsible for international crimes, there is no reason why Iran should be exempted from that, because they are doing exactly the same thing as we speak."
President Piñera, whose country has recognized the Palestinian Authority as an independent state, dwelled upon the need for continued negotiation with the PA. He added that "we share our vision that the peace-loving countries of the world should not allow Iran to become a nuclear power, because that will be a big problem and danger and threat not only for the Middle East, but for the whole world.  I think that the world should stand strong on this issue, with economic sanctions and without giving up any other option."