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PM Netanyahu Meets with Italian PM Matteo Renzi

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, this evening, met with Italian Prime Matteo Renzi and told him at the start of their meeting: Thank you, my good friend Prime Minister Matteo Renzi. 

I want to thank you for the extraordinary hospitality you've shown me and my wife and my delegation. And I have to tell you that your visit to Israel made a great impression. All the people of Israel were moved by your historic speech in the Knesset. I've heard many speeches in the Knesset. Yours was one of the exceptional ones that touched on basic truths that bind our two countries and our common civilization. 
Equally, I was enormously impressed by my visit to the Milan Expo. It's a testament to the creativity of the people of Italy and to your leadership. And I look forward to discussing with you this evening how we can further expand the cooperation between Israel and Italy in technology, in agriculture, in culture and science, in fighting terrorism, in security and stability for our world.

There is a simple rule that is absolutely critical for the future of our societies. 

The future belongs to those who innovate. 

Italy has always been at the forefront of creativity. You only need to stand in this amazing hall next to the paintings of Vasari and the statues of Michelangelo to understand how creative and how powerful Italy has been over the centuries and today. 

Israel in turn is a global hub of technology.

And I think that together we can innovate more than separate, both for the benefit of our two peoples, but also for the benefit of other peoples. 

And specifically we discussed in Israel and I hope we'll continue this tonight, how we can expand our cooperation in African countries that yearn for our expertise.

It's a great pleasure for me to visit you in your home town of Florence. 

I think the first time we met, you came as Mayor of Florence, and Florence is clearly one of the world's most magnificent cities. It has left an indelible mark on our common civilization.

And that civilization today is under threat from militant Islam.
The savagery of the Islamic State of ISIS captures the world’s attention, and justifiably so.

But I believe that a far more serious threat is posed by another Islamic state, the Islamic State of Iran, and specifically its pursuit of nuclear weapons. 

Let me make clear, Matteo, that Israel doesn’t oppose a civilian nuclear program in Iran. We oppose a military nuclear program in Iran.
And Regrettably, the deal with Iran allows it to keep and expand a formidable nuclear infrastructure that is completely unnecessary for civilian nuclear purposes, but is entirely necessary for the production of nuclear weapons.

The deal will give Iran within 13 years the ability to make as many centrifuges as they want, enrich as much uranium as they want to whatever level that they want. And this will put the Iranian Islamic state that practices terrorism worldwide, it will put it on the threshold of an entire nuclear arsenal. 

But well before that, Iran will get hundreds of billions of dollars of sanctions relief and investments to fuel its aggression and terrorism in the Middle East, in North Africa and beyond that. 

I think that this will make Iran far richer and far stronger militarily, and it will make it far more difficult to confront its nuclear ambitions in the future.

Prime Minister, Matteo, today your country and all of Europe face a wave of increasing illegal immigration. Thousands upon thousands flee the horrors of militant Islamic terrorism in Libya, across the Middle East and in Africa. 

This is a great tragedy and a great challenge.

We both want to see greater security in the Mediterranean region and beyond.

We are committed to building a better world where our children can enjoy peace and prosperity.

And I believe this is what the people of Israel and the people of Italy expect from us both. And this is what we shall discuss in the spirit of the wonderful and growing friendship between us. I believe we can help each other. I believe we can help Italy and Israel. I believe that together, we can help the world. 

And I want to thank you once again for…well, it's a warm friendship and a warm greeting. I didn’t expect it to be this warm, but it is extraordinary and your city is extraordinary.

Thank you, thank you, Matteo, and thank you all. Thank you.
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