| FM Sharon Meets Finnish Sec-Gen Valtasaary|
(Communicated by the Foreign Ministry Spokesman)
Foreign Minister Ariel Sharon yesterday (Sunday) 31.1.99, met Finnish Secretary-General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Yukka Valtasaary who is currently visiting Israel at the head of the Israel-Finland bilateral dialogue delegation.
The two men discussed the excellent bilateral relations between Israel and Finland, the Middle East peace process and the possibly of European Union countries participating in regional development projects such as the desalination project that has already been presented to EU leaders and has received their blessing.
At the bilateral level, Minister Sharon proposed to Mr. Valtasaary that Finland participate with Israel in agricultural, industrial, education and health projects in Africa, Latin America and other regions in the world. Sharon said that the experience and knowledge that the two countries have could contribute to joint humanitarian projects for needy countries. It is possible and desirable to begin projects that can be implemented immediately and do not require especially large investments. Mr. Valtasaary agreed to examine the matter and to bring it to his government’s attention. Minister Sharon then instructed Foreign Ministry Director-General Eytan Bentsur to work out practical ways to realize such projects.
At the end of the meeting, Minister Sharon extended an invitation of the Government of Israel to Finnish President Suomem Tasavallan to visit Israel.