Lithuania’s prime minister on Friday proposed talks between the E.U. and Israeli interior ministers focused on terrorism amid tensions over Iran and the Palestinian conflict.
“Lithuania will initiate discussion in E.U. home affairs council with Israeli public security minister over terrorism threats and other security issues,” Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis told AFP in an interview.
Skvernelis said he discussed the idea with Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu who is in Vilnius for a four-day visit to boost bilateral ties and build support for Israel’s interests in the Middle East.
PM Netanyahu attended a summit meeting with the leaders of the Baltic states: Lithuanian PM Skvernelis, Latvian PM Kucinskis and Estonian PM Ratas.
This was the first time that a Prime Minister of Israel has been invited a summit of the Baltic States and has visited Lithuania. pic.twitter.com/B4C6ha2AZc
— PM of Israel (@IsraeliPM) August 24, 2018
Lithuania, one of Israel’s stronger allies in the European Union, was behind Netanyahu’s invitation to meet with E.U. foreign ministers in Brussels last December, irking some Brussels officials.
Skvernelis says his country backs the E.U. position on a two-state solution to the Palestinian conflict, the status of Jerusalem and the Iran nuclear deal, but wants a more direct dialogue between the E.U. and the Jewish state.
“We want the discussion to happen as it would help to seek compromise on complicated international issues,” Skvernelis said.
Officials said no date was set yet and the format would depend on the reaction from Brussels and Western European capitals which are more critical towards Israel over its occupation of Palestinian territory.
The prime ministers of Latvia and Estonia will join Lithuanian and Israeli counterparts later on Friday for talks where Netanyahu is expected to seek more pressure on Iran.