This is the second consecutive year that Israel is participating in the annual meeting of the NATO foreign ministers.

(Communicated by the Foreign Minister’s Bureau)

Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Tzipi Livni will leave on Monday, December 1, 2008 to attend the meeting of the NATO foreign ministers at NATO headquarters in Brussels. This is the second consecutive year that Israel is participating in this annual meeting, to which the foreign ministers of the Mediterranean countries have been invited. The visit at NATO headquarters takes place against the background of the growing cooperation between Israel and NATO in a variety of fields.

The process of ratifying the cooperation program between Israel and NATO (ICP – Individual Cooperation Programme) is nearing completion, comprising the broadening of existing cooperation in the political, military and defense fields.

NATO’s Mediterranean Dialogue was launched in 1994 in recognition of the importance of the organization’s relations with the Mediterranean countries. The dialogue today includes seven states: Israel, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Mauritania, Tunisia and Algeria.

In the course of her visit to Brussels, Foreign Minister Livni will also meet with the heads of the European Union, including President of the European Commission Jose Manual Barroso, High Representative for CFSP Javier Solana, and Commissioner for External Relations Benita Ferrero-Waldner. She will also meet with other foreign ministers attending the NATO gathering, and will give a special briefing to the European Parliament Committee on Foreign Affairs.