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  • Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is one of the first European leaders to refer to Jerusalem as Israel

    Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is one of the first European leaders to refer to Jerusalem as Israel's capital. | Photo: Reuters

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Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras called Jerusalem the “historic capital” of Israel.

Greece is looking to work with Israel on developing the latter’s energy industry and transporting natural gas across Europe, Prime Minister Tsipras told reporters after a meeting with his Israeli counterpart, Benjamin Netanyahu.

“One of the main issues in our talks were the opportunities arising in the fields of energy, the fields of energy in the East Mediterranean,” said Tsipras. “We are considering ways on cooperation in research, drilling and transportation of gas from Israel to Europe,.”

The recent discovery of a large offshore gas reserves close to the city of Haifa could turn Israel from a consumer into a supplier of natural energy.

Tsipras also met with President Reuven Rivlin during his first trip to Israel, with the two discussing the threat of terrorism.

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While in Jerusalem for the meeting with Rivlin, Tsipras wrote in the president's guest book that it was a “great honor to be in your historic capital and to meet your excellencies."

The comment was significant given that most countries do not recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital. A former Israeli diplomat called the move "unprecedented, especially for a European leader.”
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