Vienna, 24 June 2005 Press release

Plassnik: "An expression of our traditional commitment to the Middle East"


Foreign Minister will travel to Israel and the Palestinian Territories this weekend

Vienna, 24 June 2005 - "My intention is to demonstrate Austria’s and Europe’s traditional commitment to the Middle East", said Foreign Minister Ursula Plassnik in the run-up to her visit to Israel and the Palestinian Autonomous Territories this coming Sunday and Monday.

One of the objectives of the Foreign Minister’s trip to Israel, where Plassnik will meet President Katzav, Prime Minister Sharon and her counterpart Silvan Shalom, is the further strengthening of the bilateral relations. Furthermore, the Foreign Minister pointed out that she expects her discussions with the decision-makers in the regions to give her "a better insight into the current developments, and especially the Middle East Peace Process - particularly with a view to Austria’s Presidency of the European Union in 2006."

During her visit to the Palestinian Autonomous Territories Plassnik will hold talks with President Abbas and Prime Minister Korei. Another item on the Foreign Minister’s agenda will be issues related to development cooperation; under its bilateral development assistance policy Austria set up a special programme for the Palestinian Territories and invested more than EUR 23 million between 1994 and 2004.