Belgian FM de Gucht is visiting Israel for the first time and hopes to get a better picture of developments in the diplomatic process.

(Communicated by the Foreign Ministry Spokesman)

The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Belgium, Karel de Gucht, arrives Sunday (27 February) with his wife to visit Israel as the guest of Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Silvan Shalom. He will begin his visit by laying a wreath at the site of the terrorist attack Friday night at the Stage Club in Tel Aviv.

In addition to meeting with the foreign minister, Minister de Gucht will meet with Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, Vice Premier Shimon Peres, the head of the opposition, MK Yosef Lapid, and the chairman of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, MK Yuval Steinitz. He will also visit Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Authority.

The Belgian foreign minister’s visit to Israel is part of a regional tour that includes Egypt, Jordan, and the Palestinian Authority. Its objective is to strengthen the relations between the two states and to enable Minister de Gucht, who is visiting Israel for the first time, to get a better picture of the developments in the diplomatic process.

In February 2004, then foreign minister of Belgium Louis Michel visited Israel.