Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Israel, Germany hold historic joint cabinet meeting

By Ron Bousso (AFP) – 4 hours ago

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu arrived in Germany with top ministers on Monday for a historic joint cabinet meeting underlining the strong ties forged in the wake of the Holocaust.

The gathering of the two governments, the second ever after a similar meeting in Israel two years ago and the first on German soil, was to address issues such as Iran's nuclear drive and defence cooperation.

Netanyahu and German Chancellor Angela Merkel were also to hold bilateral talks focused on efforts to revive Middle East peace talks and face "threats to regional security," the prime minister's spokesman Mark Regev said.

The one-day visit to Berlin, where the bid to wipe out European Jewry was planned, is "designed to strengthen and expand the cooperation between Israel and Germany," Regev told AFP.

"There is a very special relationship between Berlin and Jerusalem," he said.

"We are focused on how to strengthen the relationship in order for there to be tangible cooperation today and in the future."

A German government spokesman said the meeting was a rare occurrence.

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