Peres to cut short visit to be here for swearing-in

President Shimon Peres is cutting short his state visit to the Czech Republic to be present in the Knesset on Tuesday for the new government's swearing-in. Peres, whose Czech Republic visit was initially scheduled for March 30-April 1, will now return on Tuesday and will travel directly from Ben-Gurion Airport to the Knesset. During his trip, the president will discuss upgrading Israel's relations with the European Union, since the Czech Republic currently holds the EU's rotating presidency, and the creation of a strong European coalition to thwart the Iranian nuclear threat. In addition, Peres will reiterate Israel's appreciation of Czechoslovakia's supply of military equipment and ammunition to the fledgling State of Israel when other countries had imposed an arms embargo. He will also sign a bilateral research and development agreement. Although he has already made statements to the effect that Prime Minister-designate Binyamin Netanyahu's government will honor all international agreements made by the previous government, and Netanyahu himself has given such assurances, Peres will convey this message on a personal level to Czech dignitaries including President Vaclav Klaus, Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek, Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg and Senate President Premysl Sobotka. Peres will also travel to the Terezin concentration camp, where more than 97,000 Jews, including 15,000 children, met their deaths.