President Shimon Peres..
(photo credit: Mark Neiman/GPO)
President Shimon Peres is to travel to Vienna Sunday, one of his last visits abroad as president.
During his stay in Austria, Peres is set to meet with President Heinz Fischer; Chancellor Werner Faymann; Lamerto Zannier, secretary general of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe; Yuri Fedotov, director- general of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime in Vienna; Yukiya Amano, director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency; and Dr. Barbara Prammer, president of the National Council of Austria.
Aside from discussing the strengthening of bilateral relations, Peres will focus on the gravity of the Iranian threat and the danger if Iran is permitted to continue its nuclear program.
Peres welcomed the opportunity to have direct talks on the dangers of a nuclear Iran, but has another reason for going to Austria.
Peres and Fischer will attend a memorial ceremony at the monument for victims of the Holocaust, proposed by Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal and unveiled in 2000. Located in the Judenplatz, the center of Jewish life in Vienna, it was created by British artist Rachel Whiteread in the form of books turned inside out, in defiance of the book-burning by the Nazis.
Following the ceremony, Peres will attend a festive gathering organized by the Jewish community of Vienna.
In recent weeks, Peres has been inundated with invitations from heads of state to visit their countries. He cannot accept all these invitations before his term concludes in the last week of July, especially taking into account that he must be in Israel for Holocaust Remembrance Day, Remembrance Day for the Fallen of Israel’s Wars, and Israel Independence Day.
The invitations come with the understanding that Peres will be welcome whether in office or not, though invitations sent after July must be addressed to the Peres Center for Peace.