Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, whose air planes were parked side by side on a Zurich Airport tarmac on Wednesday, are to address the World Economic Forum in Davos on Thursday, four hours apart.
Rouhani will speak first, keynoting a session titled “Iran in the World” in what is expected to be a speech trying to lure the world business community back to the Islamic Republic.
President Shimon Peres, who flew to Switzerland with Netanyahu on Wednesday, plans to hold a press conference soon after Rouhani’s speech to provide a rebuttal Netanyahu is to then address the forum in a session titled “Israeli Economic and Political Outlook.” His speech is expected to focus on economic issues.
The prime minister, upon landing in Davos, said the goal of his visit was to speak to leading international companies and to interest them in investing in Israel. Soon after landing he met with Yahoo president and CEO Marissa Mayer and put forward the advantages of investing in blue-and-white technology.
Netanyahu, according to a statement put out by his office, asked what he could do to increase Yahoo’s investments in Israel. Mayer said she planned to visit the country in July.
The prime minister is to take part in a panel at the conference on Thursday on information technology.
In addition, he is scheduled to meet with a number of government leaders from Africa, Asia and Europe. He is scheduled to meet with US Secretary of State John Kerry before he leaves on Saturday night.
Meanwhile, advisers to Peres played down a story in Israel Hayom by diplomatic correspondent Shlomo Cesana on Tuesday claiming that Peres recently said, in private conversations with political and diplomatic officials, that Netanyahu’s insistence on Palestinian recognition of Israel as a Jewish state was unnecessary and a possible impediment to the negotiations.
Peres’s diplomatic adviser Nadav Tamir said the two leaders had a long and friendly talk on the plane to Davos, and that he was unaware that Peres made such comments.
Peres is to receive a special award in Davos on Friday, and to deliver a speech at a session in his honor. He is expected to discuss both the Palestinians negotiations and Iran in that address.