British Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett due to arrive on a two-day visit to Israel

 British Foreign Secretary  to visit Israel


FM Livni welcomes her British colleague to the Foreign Ministry (Reuters, Feb 6)

British Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett will arrive this evening (5 February) on a two-day visit to Israel as a guest of Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Tzipi Livni. This is Mrs. Beckett’s first visit to Israel since replacing Jack Straw as Foreign Secretary in May 2006.

During her visit, the Foreign Secretary will meet with Prime Minister Olmert, Foreign Minister Livni, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense Amir Peretz and other senior officials. She is scheduled to visit the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial and the Old City of Jerusalem.

Relations between Israel and Great Britain are very warm and are distinguished by close personal relationships between the prime ministers, foreign ministers and senior officials. British Prime Minister Tony Blair has visited Israel twice in the last few months, and has displayed great personal involvement in the political process in the Middle East.

During her visit, Foreign Secretary Beckett is expected to continue to promote Prime Minister Blair’s initiatives as well as discuss a range of regional and bilateral issues. Great Britain is closely involved in Middle East issues. British forces fought alongside US forces in both Gulf wars, her diplomatic representatives are at the forefront of the international effort to stop the Iranian nuclear program, and for several years her advisors have been accompanying the various reforms that Mahmoud Abbas has been attempting to promote in the Palestinian Authority.

The array of bilateral relations between Israel and Great Britain are as deep as they are diverse, and commercial cooperation is developing at an unprecedented rate.