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EU’s Josep Borrell invites Israel’s new foreign minister Eli Cohen to Brussels

“Israelis one of the EU’s closest partners in Middle East” said the EU’s foreign-policy chief. Eli Cohen spoke earlier this week with several European counterparts. YossiLempkowicz is the writer.

Josep Borrell spoke by phone with the Israeli minister on Thursday (12 January). “In this first constructive interchange, the High Representative of foreign policy and Vice President of the European Commission, expressed his desire to build on the momentum in EU-Israel relations following October’s resumption at the Association Council after a ten year pause and a number recent high-level visits,” said the spokesperson for the EU.

He said: “Israel is among the EU’s closest Partners in the Middle East, and there are many global challenges that we must face together, not only Russia’s brutal war on aggression in Ukraine, but also Russia’s military cooperation to Iran.”

Borrell expressed his appreciation for Israel’s efforts to normalize relations with several Arab countries, and reiterated that the EU was willing to support this process. Borrell expressed hope that this would have a positive effect on the Middle East Peace Process.

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Borrell reiterated the EU’s support of the two-state solution and stressed the importance of restoring a political horizon in order to end the conflict.

“In light of the current developments, HR/VP also recalled EU positions on unilateral actions and expressed strong concern about the high number victims,” said the spokesperson.

Cohen reportedly thanked Borrell and expressed his gratitude for his kind wishes upon his entry into the ministry. He also welcomed the improvement in the E.U.Israel relationship and stated that the E.U.Israel Association Council meeting in October 2022, the first time in ten years, was an important step in improving relations.


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Borrell and Cohen agreed to meet as soon as possible to continue their dialogue in-person, perhaps at the Munich Security Conference in Feb.

Cohen spoke last week to Israeli foreign ministry personnel and stressed that he would work as Minister of Foreign Affairs to “further promote Israel’s international position, strengthen international relations, establish diplomatic relations with others”.

He said, “2023 is an exciting year full of challenges and opportunities.” The State of Israel is now able to provide security, intelligence, and technological capabilities as well as energy independence and reserves.

This week, earlier.

“The European security and energy challenges pose Israel as a major player. The Foreign Minister stated that this is a chance to strengthen and deepen our relationship with European countries, in contrast to the recent years.

Borrell was not the only one who spoke with Cohen, but he also spoke with counterparts from Croatia and Cyprus over the past two days.

Cohen spoke to Gordan Grlici-Radman, Croatia’s Foreign Minister, on Thursday. He expressed gratitude to Grlic-Radman regarding Croatia’s rejection of the U.N. General Assembly resolution relating to the International Court of Justice at The Hague.

The Israeli minister spoke of the immense potential to deepen the cooperation between Israel, Croatia and other countries in science, technology, agriculture, energy and innovation. He pointed out that the near signing of a joint declaration between the two countries would be a significant step forward in this direction.

Cohen also met with Ioannis Kasoulides, the Cypriot Foreign Minister. He stressed the importance of energy cooperation and bilateral strategic relations between Israel and Cyprus.

Cohen spoke earlier this week with the foreign ministers from the United Kingdom of Germany, Austria and the Netherlands. On Thursday, Cohen was scheduled to call his Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba.

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