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World

German president to visit Israel under new govt

  • Steinmeier aims to "honour and strengthen the friendship and special partnership between Germany and Israel".
14 Jun 2021

BERLIN: German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier will travel to Israel later this month to hold talks with its new government after the ouster of Benjamin Netanyahu, his office said Monday.

The state visit, scheduled for June 30 to July 2, will allow Steinmeier to "bid farewell to departing state president (Reuven) Rivlin and to meet with his elected successor in office, Isaac Herzog".

Steinmeier, who served two terms as Chancellor Angela Merkel's foreign minister, aims to "honour and strengthen the friendship and special partnership between Germany and Israel".

The trip will also "offer the opportunity to intensify the political exchange of views on the current situation in the region with the new Israeli government".

Steinmeier, whose office is largely ceremonial, will discuss "the future of Israeli society" and "shared challenges" on a visit that was postponed last year due to the pandemic.

His last trip to Israel was on January 23, 2020 for commemorations marking the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi death camp Auschwitz.

Rivlin last visited Berlin in March.

Merkel late Sunday congratulated incoming Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett after an alliance of parties ousted Netanyahu and formed a new government.

"Germany and Israel are connected by a unique friendship that we want to strengthen further," Merkel said.

"With this in mind, I look forward to working closely with you," she said in a message addressed to Bennett and shared by her spokeswoman Ulrike Demmer on Twitter.

Germany and Israel forged strong diplomatic ties in the decades after World War II, with Berlin committed to the preservation of the Jewish state in penance for the Holocaust.

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