Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Israeli cabinet to meet in Germany to mark 20 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall

(Globes).Two days after "Globes" reported about the number of ministers and MKs currently travelling abroad, another large-scale foreign trip is now in the works. Sources inform ''Globes'' that nearly one third of the cabinet plan to hold the weekly cabinet meeting on November 30, in Germany.

The special cabinet meeting will be held in the Reichstag Building in Berlin, as part of the commemoration to mark the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will chair the meeting, which will include Minister of Foreign Affairs Avigdor Lieberman, Minister of Defense Ehud Barak, Minister of Finance Yuval Steinitz, Minister of Industry, Trade and Labor Benjamin Ben-Eliezer, Minister of National Infrastructures Uzi Landau, Minister of Social Welfare Isaac Herzog, Minister of Environmental Protection Gilad Erdan, Minister of Culture and Sport Limor Livnat, and Minister of Science and Technology Daniel Hershkowitz.

Following the meeting, the ministers will meet their German counterparts to discuss tightening bilateral relations. The German federal ministers who will meet their Israeli counterparts are Minister of Foreign Affairs Guido Westerwelle, Minister of Education and Research Dr. Annette Schavan, Minister for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth Dr. Ursula von der Leyen, Minister of Finance Dr. Wolfgang Schäuble, Minister for Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety Dr. Norbert Röttgen, Minister of Justice Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger, and Minister of Economic Cooperation and Development Dirk Niebel.

Nine ministers are due to join Netanyahu on the one-day trip. They will depart in the morning and return later the same day, thereby saving overnight costs. They will apparently be joined by Israeli correspondents.

This is a reciprocal visit by the Israeli cabinet following the visit by the German cabinet to Israel in March 2008 for a joint cabinet meeting. Chancellor Angela Merkel was accompanied by eight ministers for the meeting in Jerusalem. After the joint cabinet meeting, the German ministers met their Israeli counterparts to discuss welfare and trade issues.

The joint cabinet meeting was aimed at coordinating civil and foreign policy issues between Israel and Germany.

The invitation for the reciprocal meeting in Berlin arrived several months ago, but was postponed until now because of the change of government in Israel.