The visit will give the French foreign minister an opportunity to observe first-hand political developments in the region following the Disengagement.

(Communicated by the Foreign Ministry Spokesman)

French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy will visit Israel on Thursday, September 8, 2005, as the guest of Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Silvan Shalom.

In addition to meeting with his Israeli counterpart, the visiting foreign minister will meet with President Moshe Katsav, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, and Vice Premier Shimon Peres.

Mr. Douste-Blazy, who is visiting Israel for the first time in his capacity as foreign minister, will visit Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Authority, and will place a wreath on the grave of Yitzhak Rabin.

The visit will give the French foreign minister an opportunity to observe first-hand political developments in the region following the Disengagement. It is also an indication of the improvement that has characterized Israeli-French relations in the past two years.

President Chirac and Foreign Minister Douste-Blazy praised Prime Minister Sharon for the implementation of the Disengagement Plan, calling it a courageous plan.