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German President Steinmeier to visit Israel under new government | News | DW

German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier is scheduled to visit Israel between June 30 and July 2 to hold talks with the country’s new government.

The purpose of the state visit is to “honor and strengthen the friendship and special partnership between Germany and Israel,” Steinmeier’s office said on Monday, adding that the president would also join in talks on “the future of Israeli society” and “shared challenges.”

The trip “offers the opportunity to intensify the political exchange of views on the current situation in the region with the new Israeli government.”  

Steinmeier’s trip with his wife Elke Büdenbender will make up for a visit originally planned last year but postponed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Strengthening Israel-Germany relations

Steinmeier will “bid farewell” to Israel’s departing state President Reuven Rivlin, and meet with his elected successor Isaac Herzog.

Steinmeier and Rivlin last met in Berlin in mid-March.

The German president, whose position is largely ceremonial, last visited Israel on January 23 in 2020 to attend commemorations marking the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi death camp Auschwitz.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Sunday congratulated the incoming Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett after lawmakers passed a vote of confidence for a coalition government, ousting Benjamin Netanyahu and ending his 12-year hold on power.

“Germany and Israel are connected by a unique friendship that we want to strengthen further,” Merkel said.

“With this in mind, I look forward to working closely with you,” she said in a message addressed to Bennett..

mvb/msh (KNA, AFP)

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