Foreign minister’s trip will focus on deepening Israel’s relations with the EU.

(Communicated by Foreign Minister’s Bureau)

Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni left on Thursday, June 14, 2007, for a working visit in Portugal and Luxemburg.

Livni, who is visiting at the invitation of Portugal’s Foreign Minister Luis Amado, will meet with President Anibal Cavaco Silva, President of the Assembly of the Republic Jaime Gama, Prime Minister Jose Socrates, and the Foreign Minister.

Livni’s trip comes right before Portugal is due to take over the EU rotating presidency (1 July) and will focus on deepening Israel’s relations with the EU.

This year Jerusalem and Lisbon are marking 30 years of diplomatic relations. Livni’s is the first visit by an Israeli foreign minister in six years. Foreign Minister Amado visited Israel in November 2006, and President Socrates is expected to visit Jerusalem next month.

From Lisbon, Livni will continue on to Luxemburg, where she will speak at the 18 June meeting of the EU General Affairs and External Relations Council (GAERC). Each of the 27 EU member states has one representative on the council (usually the foreign minister of that state). Javier Solana, High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy of the EU, and Ferrero Walder, the European Commissioner for External Relations, will also take part in the meeting. The meeting will be chaired by Germany, the current EU president.

During her visit in Luxemburg, Foreign Minister Livni will hold bilateral meetings with her counterparts from the different European states.