Netanyahu heads to Davos to push economy, hold diplomatic meetings

PM set to meet with heads of Yahoo! and Google; Peres to be honored at special session.

January 22, 2014 08:18
2 minute read.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and President Shimon Peres leave Israel on Jan 22 2014. (photo credit: KOBI GIDEON/GPO)


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Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is to travel to Davos, Switzerland, on Wednesday for the annual World Economic Forum, where he plans to address the forum and meet on the sidelines with US Secretary of State John Kerry.

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Netanyahu, at a press conference with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper on Tuesday, announced that he would be meeting Kerry – who is slated to address the conference on Friday – and said he was “committed to working closely” with Kerry “in making a real effort to make our quest for peace a success.”

In addition to Kerry, Netanyahu is expected to meet during his four days in Davos with Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, who was in Israel last month.

He is scheduled to meet the heads of large international companies, such as Yahoo’s president and CEO Marissa Mayer and Google senior vice president and chief business officer Nikesh Arora.

This is to be the first time Netanyahu will attend the conference since becoming prime minister in 2009.

In addition to speaking at a session titled “Israel’s Economic and Political Outlook,” he is scheduled to participate in sessions dealing with information, technology and cyber industries.

Netanyahu is not expected to discuss the boycott and divestment issues, so as not to give it more resonance or significance.

Netanyahu said on Tuesday, in advance of his trip, that Israel is an exception on the Western economic scene since it overcame the global economic crisis better than almost all Western countries.

Still, he said, the country “needs to open up new markets and find new partners and that is the purpose of my trip.”

Netanyahu said he intended to speak to the leading hi-tech and cybersecurity companies in the world and encourage them to invest in Israel, “something good for them and definitely good for us.”

President Shimon Peres, Justice Minister Tzipi Livni and a delegation of 100 top Israeli businessmen are to be going to the conference.

Peres has attended the parley regularly for the last 20 years, most memorably when Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan stormed off the stage during a session with him just after Operation Cast Lead in 2010.

This time Peres is to be honored at a special plenary session on Friday, where he is to receive the Spirit of Davos Award from the forum’s founder and chairman Klaus Schwab. The award is in recognition of his contribution to the cause of peace as well as to economics and technology.

In addition to discussing Israel’s technological achievements, Peres is expected to touch on the Palestinian negotiations and Iran.

He, like Netanyahu, is scheduled to meet leading world and business figures.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani is expected to attend the gathering, and give a speech on Thursday morning.

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