The Foreign Minister of Switzerland, Micheline Calmy-Rey is interested in learning directly about developments in the peace process, and to meet with the Israeli public. This is Ms. Calmy-Rey’s first visit to Israel.

(Communicated by the Foreign Ministry Spokesman)

The Foreign Minister of Switzerland, Micheline Calmy-Rey, will arrive in Israel for a visit on Sunday, February 6, as a guest of Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom.
 
During the course of the visit, Minister Calmy-Rey will meet with the President of Israel Moshe Katsav, Vice Premier Shimon Peres, Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Industry, Trade and Labor Ehud Olmert, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom and leader of the opposition Yosef Lapid. She will also visit the Yad Vashem Holocaust Martyrs and Heroes Remembrance Authority.

The Swiss Foreign Minister will meet with families of victims of terror and she will visit the town of Sderot. During her visit to Sderot, she will meet with Mayor Eli Moyal. Ms Calmy-Rey will also tour the anti-terrorist fence in the areas of Jerusalem and will visit Masada.

During her visit to Israel, the Foreign Minister of Switzerland wishes to become acquainted with Israel at first hand, and is interested in learning directly about developments in the peace process, and to meet with the Israeli public. This is Ms. Calmy-Rey’s first visit to Israel. The last visit of a Swiss Foreign Minister took place in March 2001.

Over the years, relations between Israel and Switzerland have ebbed and flowed. The visit of Ms. Calmy-Rey is intended to give relations between the two countries renewed momentum. Israel will call on the minister to encourage the Swiss government to work for an improved atmosphere in ties with Israel including in the Swiss regional parliaments and the media.

The volume of trade between the two countries today stands at $1.8 billion, composed mainly of exports from Switzerland to Israel. The two sides are interested in bringing about a balance in the trade ties between the two countries, and to enhance cooperation in all the realms.