Last updated: 17 May, 2012

Israel grooms ties with EU member Czech Republic

Israel and the Czech Republic inked a raft of inter-governmental deals on Thursday as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu began a two-day visit to Prague.

Israel has “no better friends in Europe than the Czech Republic,” Netanyahu said following talks with his Czech counterpart Petr Necas in Prague.

“The Czech people understand what it’s like to be a believer in democracy in a hostile region,” he added.

Necas told reporters at the joint press conference: “We absolutely reject the de-legitimisation and any boycott of the state of Israel.”

“We unequivocally support Israel’s right to defend itself against terror attacks… (and) share concerns about Iran’s nuclear programme,” he added.

Israel, widely considered to the the Middle East’s sole if undeclared nuclear power believes along with the West that Iran’s nuclear energy programme is a cover for developing the atomic bomb, charges Tehran denies.

Earlier Thursday, the prime ministers signed a joint declaration confirming the historic partnership between the two countries.

Deals between the two countries were also signed on diplomatic, security, commercial and tourist cooperation.

Netanyahu is due to meet Czech President Vaclav Klaus on Friday, the second and last day of his visit.