FM Shalom departs for one-day visit in Nouakchott, the capital of Mauritania.

(Communicated by the Foreign Minister’s Bureau)

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Silvan Shalom will leave on Monday, May 2, 2005, for a one-day visit in Nouakchott, the capital of Mauritania. In the course of the visit he will meet with Mauritanian President Maaouya Ould Sid Ahmed Taya, Prime Minister Sghair Ould Mbareck, and Foreign Minister Mohammed Vall Ould Bellal.

Foreign Minister Shalom will discuss with his hosts the Middle East peace process, the threat of fundamentalist terrorism and the Iranian nuclear threat. He will also visit the hospital being established by the Israeli government in the capital city.

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On May 8, Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom briefed the Cabinet on his first visit to Mauritania, in the context of his efforts to expand and cultivate Israel’s relations with the Arab world. Now that Egypt and Jordan have returned their ambassadors to Israel, Israel is holding talks with Mauritania on expanding and strengthening bilateral relations. The Foreign Minister said that the connection between Israel and Mauritania proves that an Islamic country can establish a good relationship with Israel and with the Arab world at the same time.

Foreign Minister Shalom presented senior Mauritanian government officials with his roadmap for the Arab world; in the framework of increasing cooperation and the strengthening of ties with Mauritania, Israel will be able render assistance in all areas in which it has expertise, such as agriculture and water. Another area of cooperation is the war against terrorism, in which Israel and Mauritania are on the same side.

Foreign Minister Shalom noted that he also visited the Israeli hospital in Nouakchott – a project of over $1,000,000, which included building the structure, supplying equipment and training employees. So far, Israel has trained over 60 Mauritanians in various courses in Israel.

Foreign Minister Shalom invited Mauritanian President Maaouya Ould Sid Ahmed Taya and Mauritanian Foreign Minister Mohammad Vall Ould Bellal to visit Israel.