President Shimon Peres..
(photo credit: Mark Neiman/GPO)
President Shimon Peres leaves Sunday on a state visit to Norway in his penultimate trip abroad as president before his term ends in the last week of July.
The main focus of the president’s discussions while in Norway will be the dangers of a nuclear Iran, the enhancement of Israel’s status in Scandinavian countries and the advancement of the peace process throughout the Middle East.
The president is set to meet with representatives of Norway’s Jewish community, which is comprised of 1,500 members, at the Oslo Synagogue Sunday evening.
Peres is to be given an official welcome reception by King Harald in the royal palace on Monday morning, after which the two will lay wreaths at the monument commemorating Norwegian victims of the Second World War. They will then sit down to a working luncheon with the participation of Norwegian and Israeli dignitaries.
Later in the day, Peres is scheduled to meet with the Speaker of the Parliament Olemic Thommessen, and in the evening will attend a state dinner hosted in his honor by the king.
On Tuesday, Peres is set to have a working meeting with Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg, after which they will conduct a press conference.
Following the press conference, the president is scheduled to attend a festive gathering at the Norwegian Nobel Institute, where he will deliver an address before returning to Israel in the late afternoon.
Peres’s is set to go to the United States on June 25 in his last trip as president to bid farewell to President Barack Obama, whom he has hailed many times as one of Israel’s greatest friends.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was due to leave late Saturday night for a four-day visit to Japan expected to focus as much on increasing economic cooperation, as on high-profile diplomatic issues. This will be the first visit there by an Israeli prime minister since Ehud Olmert traveled to Tokyo in February 2008. Netanyahu visited Japan during his first term as prime minister in the late 1990s.
Herb Keinon contributed to this report.