President Klaus Iohannis on Tuesday welcomed visiting President of Israel Reuven Rivlin at the Cotroceni Presidential Palace.
Rivlin greeted the guard of honour in Romanian.
After an official welcoming ceremony, the two presidents started one-to-one official talks, and they were scheduled to hold a joint news conference.
Rivlin was on a state visit to Romania, at the invitation of Iohannis.
“The state visit of the Israeli president is part of the excellent dynamics of high-level bilateral contacts of late, with the most recent meeting between the two heads of state taking place as part of the Romanian president’s participation in the World Holocaust Remembrance Forum in Jerusalem in January 2020, followed by telephone conversations in March and June 2020,” according to the Romanian Presidential Administration.
Rivlin’s visit is also said to reflect the “solidity” of the bilateral relationship, as well as the fact that Israel remains Romania’s key partner with strategic valences in the Middle East.
Talks between the two presidents will focus on ways to develop and deepen bilateral relationships in all areas of common interest, with the visit starting ahead of the 73rd anniversary on June 11 of uninterrupted diplomatic ties between Romania and Israel.
Economic and health co-operation will also be addressed, including the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as Holocaust education and other measures to combat anti-Semitism in Romania, alongside cultural and interpersonal exchanges between the two countries.
Particular attention will be paid to the latest developments in the Middle East, including the developments in the Middle East Peace Process, with emphasis on security in the region following recent developments, and other current issues on the regional and international agenda will be addressed.
Iohannis: An essential contribution to the creation of this special relationship has been brought by the two communities
There are privileged ties between Romania and Israel of a strategic nature, Romania’s President Klaus Iohannis said on Tuesday at a joint news conference with visiting Israeli President Reuven Rivlin.
“Between Romania and the State of Israel, there are privileged ties of a strategic nature, based on solid, historical, cultural and human bonds. An essential contribution to the creation of this special relationship has been brought by the two communities, to whom I send my regards on this occasion. We are indebted to the Romanian-born community of Israel for the high esteem that Romania enjoys in Israel in most diverse areas, technical, medical, artistic, sports, to name just a few,” Iohannis said at the Cotroceni Presidential Palace.
He also mentioned Romania’s continuous efforts to take responsibility for its past.
“Romania is a model regarding initiatives for memory preservation and combating anti-Semitism, unfortunately still a highly topical subject,” he said.
Furthermore, the Romanian president said that he informed his counterpart that, recently, the Government of Romania adopted the first National Strategy for the prevention and combating of anti-Semitism, xenophobia, radicalization, and hate speech.
“In the current context, it’s all the more important for all the countries to develop and to use specific instruments and mechanisms, meant to combat efficiently these phenomena that have a negative impact on our societies and which have amplified, unfortunately, on the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic,” the Romanian head of state also stated.
He made reference to the joint session of the two countries’ governments, “which we desire organized this year.” In this context, he referenced the works of the Economic Forum which will start on Wednesday, and which “will be attended by a large number of Israeli and Romanian companies from various domains of mutual interest.”
President Rivlin: Our ties are based on both our shared history, shared future
The “deep” ties between Romania and Israel are based on both our shared history, as well as on the “shared future” of the two countries, the president of Israel, Reuven Rivlin, said on Tuesday, during a joint press conference with his Romanian counterpart, Klaus Iohannis, at the Cotroceni Palace.
“It was very important to visit Romania before my presidential term expires. Israel and Romania are undoubtedly friends, strategic friends, allies and friends. Our deep ties are based on both our shared history, as well as our shared future. The Jewish community in Romania had great contributions to Jewish culture, to the development of Romania’s economy and the establishment and development of the State of Israel”, the Israeli president said, according to the official translation.
He highlighted that “the fact that Romania is the only country from the communist block who never cut ties with Israel reflects the solid bond between our countries”.
Reuven Rivlin also talked about the importance of the fact that Romania took responsibility for its past.
“We, of course, do not forget history – in the past, violent anti-Semitism, pogroms, killings, especially during the time of the Holocaust. But, more importantly is that the Romanian leadership made sure that history will not be forgotten and that Romania is obligated to fight anti-Semitism without compromise. We appreciate all measures taken by Romania in order to transform the promise of “never again” into existence. This also includes the decision of building a Jewish history and Holocaust museum in Romania”, Reuven Rivlin pointed out.
In this sense, he highlighted the “key-role” president Iohannis has had in adopting the definition of anti-Semitism.
The president also talked about the context of security in the Middle East.
“As you well know, Israel is facing continuous threats from Iran and its trustees and collaborators from Gaza and Lebanon, Hezbollah. Israel not only has the right, but also the duty of protecting its citizens from these terrorist organizations and terrorist regimes which are actually calling for our extermination”, Rivlin said.
President Rivlin also reminded of the tragic accident of 2010, when a helicopter crashed in the Bucegi Mountains during an exercise, and 7 soldiers – 6 Israeli and one Romanian – died.
We will forever remember the sacrifice of those who perished in the helicopter crash of 2010, our most beloved sons, among whom Captain Stefan Claudiu Dragnea. Their memory and families that we embrace will forever be honored, the president of Israel said.
The 7 victims will be commemorated on Thursday, in Simon locality of the Brasov county, where a religious and military ceremony will take place.
11 years ago, on July 26, an Israeli transport helicopter, CH-53 Sikorsky of the Israeli Air Force (IAF), with 6 Israeli and 1 Romanian military onboard, crashed in the Bucegi Mountains, in the Fundata-Zarnesti area. The airship was taking part in the joint Romanian-Israeli air exercise BLUE SKY 2010, which took place at the Boboc airfield.
Compiled from Agerpres