Statement by the Prime Minister of Canada at a joint news conference with Benjamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister of the State of Israel

Ottawa, Ontario
2 March 2012

Prime Minister Stephen Harper made the following remarks at a joint news conference with Benjamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister of the State of Israel:

"Good afternoon everyone.

"First of all, Prime Minister, I want to say what a pleasure it is to have you back here in Canada.

"I know that our wives are spending a little bit of time together today and I look forward to not just the discussions we've had and the discussions we are going to have, but spending a little bit of time with you and I'm delighted you are able to spend some quality time with us here in Canada on this occasion.

"Ladies and gentlemen, in our meetings today, Prime Minister Netanyahu and I discussed economic priorities including negotiations on expanding and modernizing our free trade agreement and increased cooperation in science and technology.

"We also discussed security issues of global concern.

"As we all know, this is an especially challenging time in the Middle East.

"Canada will keep working with our international partners to bring pressure to bear on the Assad regime in Syria, to stop killing its own people and to step down immediately.

"We will keep working with the international community to pressure the Iranian regime to abandon its nuclear weapons program, to immediately allow international inspectors of all its nuclear sites and to comply with United Nations Security Council resolutions.

"And of course, we will continue to uphold Israel's right to exist, as a Jewish state, in peace and security.

"Canada will continue to do our part to help achieve a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the region.

"So once again, it's great to welcome you here, Prime Minister, and I look forward to your comments."