PM Netanyahu and Ukraine President Poroshenko during the latter's visit to Jerusalem in December. (Kobi Gideon/GPO) (Kobi Gideon/GPO)
PM Netanyahu and Ukraine President Poroshenko

The Israeli and Ukrainian leaders signed agreements augmenting the cooperation between the countries, while stressing the close and strong bonds and mutual aspirations.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko signed several bilateral agreements on Tuesday which further bolstered the multi-faceted ties between the two nations.

The accords include understandings on scientific and technological cooperation; a memorandum of understandings in the field of transportation security;  a cinema co-production agreement that will establish mechanisms for bilateral cooperation on the joint production of films and an agreement on the employment of diplomats’ spouses.

The agreements were signed during Netanyahu’s meeting with Poroshenko, who is on an official two-day state visit, his first to the Jewish State.

The two leaders met privately and with their delegations and discussed agricultural cooperation, a free trade area and cooperation in the fields of health and mental health, among other issues.

Poroshenko invited Netanyahu to visit Ukraine after extending a similar invitation to President Reuven Rivlin while meeting with him earlier in the day.

Recalling a thousand years of Jewish history in Ukraine, Netanyahu said that many Israelis, including himself, “feel personally connected” to Ukraine.

Citing tourism as one aspect of the ever-expanding relationship between our two countries, Netanyahu said that the countries cooperate “in culture and in agriculture, in trade and investment, in science and technology, in health and medicine. And our cooperation in these and other areas, I think, brings tangible benefits to both our peoples.”

He commended Poroshenko for his “resolute stance against racism and anti-Semitism. I think that this has a special meaning for us in principle, but also in relation to the large Jewish community that lives in Ukraine and for which we have special regard and warmth and close connections.”

Relating to the seasonal holidays, Netanyahu pointed out that “in the Middle East, Israel is one of the few countries, I would even say probably the only country in which Christians can be free, can worship openly, safely, proudly. They can celebrate this important holiday and other holidays at any time with no fear. I know many Ukrainians will be celebrating Christmas along with them. I wish them all the best.”

In his statement, Poroshenko said Ukraine attached “a special importance to developing partner’s relation with the Israel industry of high technology and since Israel is recognized as a world leader in the high tech.”

Relationship Between Israel and Ukraine – ‘One of the Strongest We Have’

Rivlin Poroshenko

President Reuven Rivlin with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, at the president’s residence in Jerusalem. (Mark Neyman/GPO)

Later on in the evening, President Reuven and his wife Nechama hosted a state dinner in honor of Poroshenko and his wife Maryna at the President’s Residence in Jerusalem.

Rivlin expressed his hope that Poroshenko’s visit would serve to help strengthen the ties between the two countries, and stressed that “the relationship between Israel and Ukraine is one of the strongest we have. We have trade agreements – which we are working to strengthen as we speak – and we have wonderful cultural and political ties. I am proud of many things we have developed in Israel – in agriculture, in hi-tech, in medicine, in water technologies – and I am sure we can work to increase our trade even further.”

Reciprocating Rivlin’s comments, Poroshenko called Israel “a very important partner and close friend of Ukraine… I am grateful to the friendly people of Israel, represented by their President Reuven Rivlin, for the strong support and understanding that we have felt. International and internal security are the most important issues of today for both Ukraine and Israel. We must be united if we are to overcome these challenges.”

By: Max Gelber, United with Israel