Ministers Baird and Flaherty to Visit Middle East

January 27, 2012 - Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird and Minister of Finance Jim Flaherty will travel to Israel and the West Bank next week. There, they will engage in a series of high-level meetings on the Middle East peace process, regional security and economic cooperation.

“Canada is committed to helping achieve a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East that will guarantee Israel’s right to live in peace and security with its neighbours,” said Baird. “We urge the two parties to continue the peace talks recently facilitated by Jordan and to move to direct negotiations, without preconditions, based on the September 23, 2011, Quartet statement.”

In Israel, the ministers will meet with President Shimon Peres and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Minister Baird will then meet with Deputy Prime Minister Dan Meridor, Minister of Foreign Affairs Avigdor Lieberman and Minister of Defense Ehud Barak. Minister Baird will also be a keynote speaker at the 12th annual Herzliya Conference. Minister Flaherty will meet with Israel’s Minister of Finance Yuval Steinitz, Governor of the Bank of Israel Stanley Fischer, and Chief Scientist of the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labour Avi Hasson. He will also attend a luncheon round table with Israeli business leaders.

“Canada and Israel have a strong and close relationship based on shared values, common interests, and strong political and social ties,” said Minister Flaherty. “This visit is a unique opportunity to discuss shared economic priorities, such as leveraging private sector support for research and development so that innovation can thrive.”

While in the West Bank, the ministers will meet with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Salam Fayyad. Minister Baird will also meet with Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki, to whom he will reiterate Canada’s support for continued governance reforms by the Palestinian Authority. Minister Flaherty will also meet with Governor of the Palestine Monetary Authority Jihad Al-Wazir.

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For further information, media representatives may contact:

Foreign Affairs Media Relations Office
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada
613-995-1874
Follow us on Twitter: @DFAIT_MAECI

Mary Ann Dewey-Plante
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Finance
613-996-7861

Jack Aubry
Media Relations
Department of Finance Canada
613-996-8080