Cameron, Merkel scheduled to visit Israel in February

Both visits are unrelated to diplomatic peace process; British prime minister's first visit to Israel since taking office in 2010.

Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron (photo credit: Reuters)
Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron
(photo credit: Reuters)
Both German Chancellor Angela Merkel and British Prime Minister David Cameron will visit Israel in February, but Israeli diplomatic officials stressed the visits are not connected to the diplomatic process with the Palestinians, since they were planned months ago.
The officials also said the mid-February meetings are unconnected, and the two leaders’ visits will not overlap.
Merkel’s visit comes within the framework of the Israel- Germany government- to-government meeting that takes place annually – one year in Germany, and the next year in Israel.
Last year the meeting was in Berlin, meaning that this year it will be in Jerusalem.
Merkel was last here in January 2011.
Cameron, meanwhile, will be arriving for his first visit since becoming prime minister in May 2010. Officials said that this visit has been long in the works.
Both Britain and Germany are members of the P5+1 – along with the US, Russia, China and France – which is negotiating with Iran, and Iran’s nuclear program is expected to be a key focus Merkel and Cameron’s talks here.
Der Spiegel reported Tuesday that Iranian President Hassan Rouhani may attend the Munich Security Conference at the end of the month.
Rouhani himself posted a tweet Wednesday saying “it is likely” he will “travel to Germany by the end of January.”
It is not clear, however, whether such a visit would include a meeting with Merkel.
In addition to the February visits of Merkel and Cameron, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper will be arriving on January 19 for his first visit here.
January will also see visits by German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Romanian President Traian Basescu and Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili.