PRIME MINISTER Benjamin Netanyahu greets Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in Jerusalem.
(photo credit: KOBI GIDON / GPO)
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko is scheduled to arrive on Sunday for a 30-hour visit, his third time since taking office in 2014.
The primary purpose of the visit, said Joel Lion, Israel’s ambassador to Ukraine, is to sign a Free Trade Agreement that has been under discussion between the two countries for the last seven years. Lion said this agreement is expected to bring trade between the two countries to $1b. annually within five years.
This will be Israel’s ninth Free Trade Agreement.
Poroshenko, who – like Benjamin Netanyahu – is in the midst of an election campaign, is scheduled to meet Netanyahu Monday evening. Ukrainian elections are scheduled for March 30, and Poroshenko is running in third or fourth place in most polls there.
In addition to meeting Netanyahu, Poroshenko is also scheduled to meet President Reuven Rivlin, Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein, and Jerusalem Affairs and Minister of Environmental Protection Minister Zeev Elkin. Both Edelstein and Elkin are Ukrainian born, and Elkin played a significant role in the Free Trade Agreement negotiations.
Poroshenko is also scheduled to visit Yad Vashem, as well as the Old City of Jerusalem where he will go to the Western Wall, as well as the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. He is also scheduled to meet Theophilos III, the Patriarch of the Greek Orthodox Church of Jerusalem.
Poroshenko first came to Israel as president in December 2015, when he addressed the Knesset, and again briefly in September 2016 for the funeral of Shimon Peres.
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