Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon met on Thursday (February 2) with Mr. Dirk Niebel, German Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development. The two ministers met in Tel Aviv to discuss joint Israeli-German projects, with an emphasis on the project to rehabilitate Lake Victoria.
Both ministers agreed on the importance of extending aid to the new Republic of South Sudan. As a first step, it was decided that Israel's ambassador to South Sudan, Chaim Koren, will assess the immediate needs of the new state, and then DFM Ayalon and Minister Niebel will examine the possibilities for trilateral cooperation.
Examining aid to South Sudan is one of many Israel-Germany cooperation projects led by Ayalon and Niebel. One of the most important is the project to rehabilitate Lake Victoria, the main source of water for several states and one of the sources of the Nile River.
This summer, DFM Ayalon and Minister Niebel will go to Kenya to check on the progress of the Lake Victoria rehabilitation project.
DFM Ayalon explained, "International aid is one of the most important diplomatic tools that Israel has, and three-party aid strengthens Israel's relations with both the partner and with the recipient country."
At his meeting with Minister Niebel, Ayalon proposed broadening MASHAV cooperation and examining the possibility of setting up a joint center for sustainable development and responses to climate change. Ayalon noted, "Israeli know-how in the fields of water management, agriculture in arid regions and alternative energy can add to global knowledge and future development in these fields."
DFM Ayalon gave Israel's assessment in relation to Germany's projects in the Palestinian Authority's territory and said that Israel is willing to help as needed.
DFM Ayalon went to Munich on Thursday (February 2) for the Munich Security Conference (MSC). The Israeli minister will seek international consensus on intensifying the sanctions on Iran. After the conference, Ayalon will continue on to a bilateral dialogue with Colombia.
The MSC will be attended by leaders from Europe, Asia, the Gulf States and the Middle East, including the prime minister of Qatar, the president of Georgia, the US secretary of state and secretary of defense, US senators, the deputy prime minister of Russia, the foreign ministers of Germany, Spain, Egypt, Afghanistan, Australia and France, the ministers of defense of Italy and Singapore, the secretary general of NATO, head of Germany's intelligence service, the president of the World Bank, and other leaders.
On Friday, February 3, DFM Ayalon said at the opening panel of the Munich Security Conference, "The Iranian regime today is just as dangerous to the world as Hitler was in the 1930s. We don't have the luxury of waiting for the results of the sanctions on Iran; we must immediately put heavy pressure on Iran until it cracks. Germany, as the strongest country in the European Union, must provide an answer to the needs of the European states that get oil from Iran, so that they will no longer be dependent on Iranian oil. Only in this way will the European sanctions have any meaning."
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