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WATCH: Israel, Croatia Agree to Cooperate on Disaster Prevention, Emergency Response

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday welcomed Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković to Jerusalem, where the two leaders signed a declaration of intent to cooperate in the fields of disaster prevention and emergency response.

The agreement follows Croatia’s efforts to aid Israel when wildfires swept through the country in November.

“We cooperate in many fields and we spoke just now about the need to cooperate even further in the fields of economy, of technology, in every field of economic endeavor but also in the field that we’re already advancing, which is emergency disaster cooperation,” Netanyahu said. “The best example is firefighting – we are making progress in a joint international force that we’d like to make from countries in the Mediterranean region. We’re having an exercise, I think a joint exercise in May, that is a practical application of what we’re doing, and we’re going to sign a deceleration for cooperation in emergency situations.”

Israel agreed to form the regional emergency force for the eastern Mediterranean with Greece and Cyprus last month.

“I was very happy to respond to your call during the recent fires that unfortunately hit Israel,” Plenković told Netanyahu. “We were fast to act thanks to my defense minister. With the help of our president, two Croatian planes were here. I know you visited our crews. They are very grateful, they are sending regards.”

In discussing the diplomatic arena, Netanyahu expressed gratitude to Plenković, who became Croatia’s prime minister three months ago, “for your strong support in international forums, in European forums, in the UN and elsewhere you stood very clearly and very firmly for the truth, which means standing for Israel.”

Netanyahu also thanked Plenković for inviting him to visit Croatia, saying, “you have a beautiful country and many Israelis go there, and of course we would like to go there too at the appropriate time.”

Plenkovic visited Israel along with Damir Krstičević, his deputy prime minister and minister of defense, as well as Milijan Brkić, deputy president of the Croatian parliament. The delegation also met with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin and opposition leader MK Tzipi Livni.

[Photo: GPO/Mark Neiman]

President Reuven Rivlin meets with Croatian PM Andrej Plenković

[Photo: Haim Zach / GPO]