Canadian Foreign Minister to Visit Israel

(Communicated by the Foreign Ministry Spokesperson)
May 23, 2002

The Foreign Minister of Canada, Bill Graham, will arrive in Israel on Saturday night, (May 25) as part of a Middle East tour that will include visits to Jordan, Egypt and the Palestinian Authority.

During the visit, Foreign Minister Graham will meet with the President of Israel, Moshe Katzav, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, Foreign Minister Shimon Peres and the President of the Supreme Court, Aharon Barak. In addition, he will visit Yad Vashem and the grave of late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.

This is the first visit of Bill Graham to the region since he assumed the position of Foreign Minister. He is visiting the region with the aim of studying Middle East issues at first hand, ahead of the forthcoming G8 meetings. During the G8 forums, there will be discussions of a range of Middle East issues, with an emphasis on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Canada is now serving as the rotating Chairman of the G8, and will host the G8 Foreign Ministers forum, headed by Foreign Minister Graham, in the course of June. Later on in the year, the G8 leaders will attend a special summit, headed by the Prime Minister of Canada.

The relations between Canada and Israel are friendly and close, and involve frequent bilateral meetings and reciprocal visits of the leaders of both countries.