Visit of Deputy FM Melchior to France and Belgium

(Communicated by the Foreign Ministry Spokesperson)
August 20, 2001

Deputy Foreign Minister Rabbi Melchior will depart tonight (August 20) for an official visit to France and Belgium, in the run-up to the UN Anti-Racism Conference that will take place in Durban, South Africa, at the end of the month. The purpose of the visit is to take action to prevent the delegitimization of Israel expressed through statements reminiscent of the "Zionism Is Racism" equation.

During his visit to Belgium, the current President of the EU, Deputy Foreign Minister Melchior will meet with the Belgian Foreign Minister, Jean Louis Michel. He will seek to persuade Foreign Minister Michel of the need for a concerted effort by the EU to remove the Arab proposals from the Conference agenda.

In France, Minister Melchior will meet with the Minister for Cooperation and Francophony, Mr. Charles Josselin, who will head the French delegation at the Conference. Melchior will inform Josselin that the current drafts of the proposals still include all the clauses isolating and condemning Israel. The Deputy Foreign Minister will urge Josselin to take action to remove the language of hatred, warning that the adoption of this language at the Conference will have grave consequences.

Over the next two days, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will be sending special envoys to countries in Africa and Asia for preparatory meetings with heads of state, in order to stop the anti-Israel campaign.