Shimon Peres 311.
(photo credit: AP)
In an effort to strengthen Israel’s ties with the European Union and increase
understanding of Israel’s position in the conflict with the Palestinians,
President Shimon Peres is off to Slovenia and Croatia.
The visits to the
two countries will take place from Thursday through Sunday.
mission miss its mark?
cannot arm Hizbullah and seek peace with
division of Syrian army'
believes that it is essential to win the support of states whose independence is
Both Slovenia and Croatia were part of the former
Yugoslavia, and each gained independence in 1991.
Both countries endured
centuries of foreign rule.
Slovenia joined the EU six years ago and
Croatia was granted candidate status in 2004.
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Croatia’s accession has
been blocked by issues raised by Ireland and Slovenia, but it has the support of
other member states and will likely become a member of the EU in the
Peres’s state visits to both countries are part of
a broader effort to enhance relations with all the countries of Eastern and
The next phase of this project will come in August, when
Peres plans to visit Romania.
In his meetings with the highest state and
political echelons of Slovenia and Croatia, Peres will focus on security and
political issues, primarily the formation of a strong European coalition to
thwart the nuclearization of Iran.
Such a coalition would also serve to
accelerate the resumption of peace talks between Israel and the
Authority and to place restraints on Hamas, thereby curbing
Peres will also use hold extensive contacts with the media in
Slovenia and Croatia to clarify Israel’s policies and to explain the
irrationality of those countries, institutions and organizations that
delegitimize the Jewish state.
Before leaving for Slovenia, Peres met on
Wednesday with Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou and with Ukrainian
Minister Kostyantyn Gryshchenko.
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