Netanyahu with leaders from Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia, and Greece. (Amos Ben Gershom/GPO)

Israel’s prime minister met with the leaders of Bulgaria and Romania on Friday to strengthen ties between their nations.

By: JNS and United with Israel Staff

At the summit meeting of the Craiova State Forum in Bulgaria, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was the guest of honor, holding meetings with Romanian Prime Minister Viorica Dăncilă and Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov, whom Netanyahu spoke with on Wednesday evening.

“I am here at the summit of four countries—Bulgaria, Greece, Serbia and Romania—and this is the first time that they have invited a leader outside these four countries to participate with them,” said the Israeli premier. “This is a great honor for Israel. It reflects the rising status of Israel in the world.”

To that end, Netanyahu and Borisov discussed cooperation related to security, the economy and technology, according to the prime minister’s office.

Netanyahu told the Romanian prime minister that Israel defends Europe by preventing dozens of attacks on its soil, including Israel’s recent assistance in thwarting Iranian terror attacks in France and in Denmark.

Netanyahu also congratulated Romania on its presidency of the European Union and requested its help to change the EU’s position on Israel.

Netanyahu and Dăncilă discussed increasing trade and investment, in addition to promoting energy, security and counterterrorism cooperation, among other issues.

“You are close neighbors and good neighbors,” said Netanyahu. “Well, we have a different neighborhood, although our relations with our Arab neighbors are changing dramatically for the better.”

Netanyahu also met with Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić and Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.

‘A Great Honor for Israel’

The Craiova Forum was founded in 2015 to promote the common interests of Bulgaria, Romania, Greece and Serbia. The summit this year was held at the Euxinograd Palace on the Black Sea coast near Varna.

This is the first time a foreign leader has been invited to the Craiova State Forum.

Netanyahu commented on the honor, stating, “Each one of [the Craiova member states] promised me that they would improve their voting on issues that concern us both in the European Union and in the UN, and on the other hand, everyone wants to promote the pipeline from Leviathan to Europe and the Balkans. They very much want Israeli gas, they very much want Israeli technology, and they very much want Israel’s friendship. That’s a good sign.”