Dichter leaves for whirlwind North America tour

Minister to sign cooperation agreement, talk up Iran danger.

By REBECCA ANNA STOIL
February 4, 2007 22:56
1 minute read.
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Internal Security Minister Avi Dichter left Monday for a four-day working visit to North America that will include a visit to Canada and what he described as "a breakthrough signing of an agreement [with the US] for the war on terror and establishing cooperation between the Internal Security Ministry and the Department of Homeland Security." In Canada, Dichter will meet with Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Public Security Minister Stockwell Day, as well as with the Prime Minister's Adviser on National Security and Canadian police heads. Dichter's visit marks the first time an internal security minister has visited Canada and will be the first diplomatic visit by a senior minister to the country in more than a year. He will appear before the Parliament's Public Security and National Security Committee, which was established following the September 11 terrorist attacks. Dichter and Harper will speak before 1,000 leaders of the Canadian Jewish community, MPs and senators, journalists, economic leaders and foreign diplomats at the annual meeting of the Canada-Israel Committee. Dichter is will continue to the United States, where he will sign an framework partnership agreement with the Department of Homeland Security that includes an accord for bilateral cooperation in combating terror, improving public security and emergency planning. He is also expected to hold a working meeting with Homeland Security chief Michael Chertoff. Ambassador to the US Sallai Meridor will hold a reception at his private residence to celebrate the signing of the accord. Dichter will meet for the second time since his appointment in May with members of both houses of Congress in Washington and is expected to speak before the Senate Homeland Security Committee, which is led by one-time Democratic vice presidential candidate Sen. Joe Lieberman. Dichter's office said he would also discuss fighting crime, border security and technological cooperation. The former Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) head is also slated to discuss the threats poised by Iran's nuclear program and its growing influence on Israel's neighbors via Hamas and Hizbullah. Before his departure, Dichter held a planning session with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni.

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