Peres to discuss Iran with African, Asian leaders

World dignitaries to arrive for 'Facing Tomorrow' conference.

Peres 224.88 (photo credit: AP)
Peres 224.88
(photo credit: AP)
This week will be a busy one for President Shimon Peres. In addition to hosting the three-day "Facing Tomorrow" conference in Jerusalem and attending many of its sessions, he will also have to meet and greet participating heads of state and hold working sessions with them. In the framework of these working sessions, Peres will discuss the need for a united international stand against Iran with the aim of curtailing its nuclear program. On Monday, Peres will welcome Mongolian President Nambar Enkhbauar, Togolese President Faure Essozimna Gnassingbe, Slovenian President Danilo Turk and Burkina Faso President Blaise Compaore in a series of separate meetings throughout the day. On Tuesday, he will welcome Polish President Lech Kaczynski, with whom he established a rapport during his own visit to Poland last month. He will also meet with Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Moratinos, an old friend from when Moratinos was Spain's ambassador to Israel and later special envoy of the European Council of Ministers to the peace process. Afterward, Peres will attend the opening of a futuristic exhibition at the Jerusalem International Convention Center, entitled "Tomorrow's Horizon." The exhibition, which parallels the themes of the convention sessions, highlights scientific innovations by 60 Israeli entrepreneurs, selected from among hundreds of candidates by a committee headed by Prof. Yitzhak Peterberg. Their ideas will significantly influence medicine, agriculture, environmental concerns, technology, hi-tech and computer science in the world of the future. Following the exhibition, Peres will address the opening plenary session, in which 12 presidents of countries around the globe will discuss "tomorrow" from their individual perspectives. Peres will then hold a series of private meetings with Latvian President Vladis Zatlers, Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko and Slovakian Prime Minister Robert Fico, after which he will return to the JICC to officially open the conference. Important though the conference may be, it cannot interfere with tradition. It is traditional for the president to attend the annual State Cup soccer final, and this year will be no exception. From Jerusalem, he will travel to Ramat Gan in time to present the cup to the winning team at approximately 10:15 p.m. Early Wednesday morning, Peres, together with former US secretary of state Henry Kissinger and writer Amos Oz, will address the plenary session of the conference. He will then participate in the welcoming ceremony for US President George W. Bush at Ben-Gurion Airport, and host an official reception for Bush at Beit Hanassi. Later in the day, Peres will hold working meetings with Hungarian Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany, Croatian President Stjepan Mesic, Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili and Sergey Mironov, chairman of the Federation Council of Russia. In the evening, Peres will host a "Salute to the United States" dinner, at which Bush will be the guest of honor. Peres will also host a reception prior to the dinner. On Thursday morning, Peres will participate in a plenary session on the Internet and the new media. The session will also be addressed by News Corporation chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch, Google founder Sergey Brin, former Yahoo CEO Terry Semel and Israeli hi-tech entrepreneur Yossi Vardi. After this session, Peres, whose past positions include that of finance minister, will participate in a roundtable discussion on Israel's economy. In the afternoon, he will participate in a special Knesset session in honor of Bush. In the evening, he will head the closing session of the conference, in which the Israeli leadership will discuss Israel's tomorrow. Afterward, Peres will host a farewell reception for the participants in the conference. But it won't end there. Friday morning, Peres will have a working session with Albanian President Bamir Topi before setting off yet again for Ben-Gurion Airport to participate in the state farewell for Bush.