Reuven Rivlin meets with Czech Foreign Minister
Reuven Rivlin meets with Czech Foreign MinisterPhoto: Mark Neyman/GPO

President Reuven Rivlin on Monday met at his residence with Foreign Minister of Czech Republic, Lubomír Zaorálek, who is visiting Israel. The two discussed strengthening bilateral cooperation in the fields of security, economy and trade.

President Rivlin welcomed the Foreign Minister and his delegation and asked he convey his warm regards to the Czech President and Prime Minister, and stated that he fondly remembered his visit to the Czech Republic last year, and the hospitable welcome he had received.

Rivlin spoke of the need for direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, and said that he hoped the Palestinians engage in direct talks rather than turning to international organizations: "Without confidence between the two sides, there cannot be negotiations, and we will not find a solution."

The President added that he “recently listened to what Chairman of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas said recently on television. I must say that it was a little more promising. He said that he believes there is a need to end all forms of terror, and find a way to return to the negotiations. But as long as he believes in fundamentalism or any thoughts such as those of Hamas, that there is no way to accept Israel, or that any ceasefire would just be temporary that would not give up on the aspiration to destroy Israel, then this will get us nowhere."

The President stressed that if Abbas truly means to take action to stop terrorism and that if he honestly wants to return to direct negotiations, there must be a way to do it. "We must find a way to build confidence between us. I will meet him with the understanding of the Israeli Government of course."

In regards to the war in Syria, Rivlin said: "The current chaos, the crisis in Syria is a problem for all of Europe." He went on to state that the presence of millions of refugees in Greece, Lebanon, and Jordan posed a very serious challenge. "The entire world is fighting fundamentalism, based on IS, which has become a phenomena across the globe."

Foreign Minister Zaorálek noted that cooperation between the two countries crossed many fields, including economy, energy, and also healthcare. He also stated that he was keen to see Israeli guidance and assistance in the raining of Czech medical professionals, which would benefit of all the Czech people.

 "The relationship between the Czech Republic and Israel is developing in a very positive way. We appreciate your visit to our country and its positive outcomes, and are in preparation for the upcoming G2G meeting in Prague," said Zaorálek.

Zaorálek also said that he was pleased to see the increase in the number of Israeli visitors to Czech Republic, and noted this greatly helped to strengthen the ties between the two nations and governments.