The visit will provide FM Plassnik with a first-hand view of developments in the Middle East peace process, in preparation for Austria assuming the European Union Presidency in January 2006.

(Communicated by the Foreign Ministry Spokesman)

The Foreign Minister of Austria, Ms. Ursula Plassnik, will visit Israel as the guest of Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Silvan Shalom from June 25-27, 2005.

In addition to her meeting with the foreign minister, Minister Plassnik will meet with President Moshe Katsav and with Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. She will also visit the Yad Vashem Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Authority.

The is Foreign Minister Plassnik’s first visit to Israel, and is expected to further strengthen the bilateral relations which have developed rapidly in all fields since 2003. The visit will provide her with a first-hand view of developments in the Middle East peace process, in preparation for Austria assuming the European Union Presidency in January 2006 for a six-month period.