• On the third day of the President’s official trip to the Middle East, Mas met with Israel’s Minister of Finance, Yair Lapid
  • The President stressed that “there is no resistance nor reticence on our behalf to talk and negotiate with Palestine”
  • Tomorrow Artur Mas will meet with Israel's president Shimon Peres and will visit the Holocaust Museum
President Mas and Minister Yair Lapid
President Mas meeting with Minister Yair Lapid
This morning the president of the Government of Catalonia, Artur Mas, reiterated that "Israel is a strategic country for Catalonia in many ways" and that the government's aim with this trip is to "strengthen our cooperation and maintain the good relations between the two countries" since diplomatic relations were restored in 1986. “Israel is a country Catalonia should interact with in the best possible conditions" Mas declared, and "we, having cooperated together for years, wish not to abandon this relationship, we want to emphasise it".
In this regard, the Chief Executive highlighted that his Administration and the previous one led by Jordi Pujol "have always stood beside Israel, even during the more difficult and complicated times”, a fact, Mas reassured, that the country appreciates especially..
At the same time Mas asserted that “our arms and our doors are open to the Palestinian people […] and there is no resistance nor reticence on our behalf to talk and negotiate with Palestine” just as Catalonia’s relationship with Israel “is important and we will not close the door on cooperation between both countries”. As a measure of this willingness, the President recalled how he met with the president of the Palestinian National Authority, Mahmoud Abas, a year and a half ago in the Palau de la Generalitat.
President Mas made these declarations after meeting with Yair Lapid, Israel’s Minister of Finance and number two in the Israeli government, responsible for science policy and innovation. Lapid entered his current position last March, after elections within his party, Yesh Atid, took place in January earlier this year. In the elections Yesh Atid, became the second largest party in in the Knesset, the Israeli Parliament.
During the meeting, which took place at the Ministry, President Mas explained in general terms the economic developments which were taking place in Catalonia and Europe, emphasizing the efforts made to solve youth unemployment and the strategies and initiatives to bolster the creation of new jobs. Mas also spoke of the visits made by the Catalan delegation ​​and of Israel’s current and future investment projects in Catalonia, as is the case with Cisco -which received a visit from the President earlier today - which is considering expanding its investment in Catalonia.
In the afternoon, President Mas went to visit the facilities of Dead Sea Works, parent company of the Catalonia’s Iberpotash, in the Dead Sea. The President recalled how the company is "making hundred million euro investments in the centre of Catalonia". The head of the Catalan government stressed the importance of companies like these in Catalonia to fight the problem of unemployment and said that the government should "promote economic activity so there can be new jobs".
Tomorrow President Mas is scheduled to have an interview with Israeli President Shimon Peres at the Presidential Palace. Subsequently, the Chief Executive will visit the Holocaust Museum and will pay his respects in the Hall of Remembrance. In the afternoon, the Head of Government will visit Jerusalem Venture Partners, a venture capital firm specializing in innovative projects for emerging companies in Israel.