Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi in Rome on Monday. The two held a press conference after the meeting during which Netanyahu addressed Sunday's elections in Turkey.
Netanyahu said that Israel did not decide to put a damper on the relations with Istanbul and said Jerusalem wishes to rectify matters. We don’t want a tense relationship, he said.
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The prime minister thanked Berlusconi for Italy's opposition to the Palestinian UN recognition bid and said that their meeting was an opportunity to reinforce the extraordinary friendship Israel and Italy share. Addressing the Italian premier, he said "You are a dear friend to me and the Jewish people."
Netanyahu and Berlusconi during press conference (Photo: AP)
Netanyahu also discussed the Iranian threat and peace negotiations with the Palestinians. He stressed the importance of negotiations and noted that no outside element can force peace upon the parties adding that should the UN accept the Palestinians' bid negotiations will be rendered pointless.
The prime minister also expressed support for a plan to promote Palestinian economy.
He personally thanked Berlusconi at the end of the press conference.
Berlusconi noted that Israel was a good example of a Middle Eastern democracy that serves as a beacon for Arab states.
The Israeli delegation in Italy, which includes eight ministers, will hold a meeting with Italian government officials.
Upon his arrival in Rome, Netanyahu was greeted by the city's mayor who told him he would like to head a Gilad Shalit flotilla to Gaza demanding to visit the captive soldier. The prime minister thanked him for his efforts on the Shalit issue.
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