Both German Chancellor Angela Merkel and British Prime Minister David Cameron
will visit Israel in February, but Israeli diplomatic officials stressed the
visits are not connected to the diplomatic process with the Palestinians, since
they were planned months ago.
The officials also said the mid-February
meetings are unconnected, and the two leaders’ visits will not
Merkel’s visit comes within the framework of the Israel- Germany
government- to-government meeting that takes place annually – one year in
Germany, and the next year in Israel.
Last year the meeting was in
Berlin, meaning that this year it will be in Jerusalem.
Merkel was last
here in January 2011.
Cameron, meanwhile, will be arriving for his first
visit since becoming prime minister in May 2010. Officials said that this visit
has been long in the works.
Both Britain and Germany are members of the
P5+1 – along with the US, Russia, China and France – which is negotiating with
Iran, and Iran’s nuclear program is expected to be a key focus Merkel and
Cameron’s talks here.
Der Spiegel reported Tuesday that Iranian President
Hassan Rouhani may attend the Munich Security Conference at the end of the
Rouhani himself posted a tweet Wednesday saying “it is likely” he
will “travel to Germany by the end of January.”
It is not clear, however,
whether such a visit would include a meeting with Merkel.
In addition to
the February visits of Merkel and Cameron, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen
Harper will be arriving on January 19 for his first visit here.
will also see visits by German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Sri
Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Romanian President Traian Basescu and
Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili.