Peres to Spain to celebrate 25th year of ties

It is anticipated that the president’s visit will contribute greatly to the strengthening of strategic, political and economic ties between the 2 countries.

Shimon Peres 311 (photo credit: AP)
Shimon Peres 311
(photo credit: AP)
President Shimon Peres leaves for Spain Monday on a four-day state visit as the guest of King Juan Carlos.
The visit is timed to celebrate the 25th anniversary of diplomatic ties with Spain following an almost 500-year disconnect between Spain and the Jewish people in the aftermath of the Spanish Inquisition.
Diplomatic relations were established on January 17, 1986.
When Trinidad Jimenez, Spain’s current foreign minister, visited Israel at the beginning of this month, she told Peres that Spain was eagerly awaiting his arrival.
Peres will be accompanied by a 40-member delegation of top executives from Israel’s major hi-tech and defense companies, among them Israel Military Industries, Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, Israel Aerospace Industries and RAD Data Communications.
It is anticipated that the president’s visit will contribute greatly to the strengthening and expansion of strategic, political and economic ties between the two countries.
Soon after his arrival, Peres will conduct a briefing with editors of Spain’s leading electronic and print media outlets.
He has reserved the evening for Madrid’s Jewish community at the Central Synagogue.
During the course of his visit Peres, in addition to his meetings with the king, whose titles include king of Jerusalem, will meet with Prime Minister Jose Luis Zapatero and opposition leader Mariano Rajoy. He will also address a plenary session of the Spanish Congress of Deputies, and will open a bilateral business forum that will be attended by Minister for Industry and Trade Miguel Sebastian.
The forum will include 300 representatives of prominent companies from both Spain and Israel.
At the invitation of and under the auspices of the prestigious Europa Press news agency, Peres will present a political overview of the Middle East in general and Israel in particular to some 300 senior Spanish politicians and opinion- makers who are curious to hear the president’s views on scenarios that could ensue in the wake of the wave of protest rolling through the region.
Other meetings will be with Spanish intellectuals and with journalists.
Peres hopes to persuade some of Spain’s top soccer stars to come to Israel as guests of the Peres Peace Center, which inter alia promotes peace through sport, and has Israelis and Palestinians playing on the same team.
In addition to the usual gifts that are given to heads of state on such visits, Peres will come away with the key to the city of Madrid.
Before leaving for Spain, Peres attended the opening on Sunday evening of the 25th Jerusalem International Book Fair at the the capital’s International Convention Center.