French foreign minister visits Israel
While in Jerusalem, Michele Alliot-Marie is expected to meet with the parents of the Gilad Shalit, the Israeli soldier that has been held captive in Gaza since 2006; Shalit is a French citizen.
French Foreign Minister Michele Alliot-Marie began her first official visit to Israel and the Palestinian territories Thursday.
Alliot-Marie opened her two-day tour with a meeting in Tel Aviv with Israel's opposition leader, Tzipi Livni of Kadima.
She was then scheduled to tour the Yad Vashem Holocaust museum in Jerusalem before a lunch with her Israeli counterpart, Avigdor Lieberman of Yisrael Beitenu.
While in Jerusalem, Alliot-Marie is expected to meet with the parents of the Gilad Shalit, the Israeli soldier that has been held captive in Gaza since 2006. Shalit is a French citizen.
She is scheduled to meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Thursday evening.
Alliot-Marie plans to tour the Gaza Strip on Friday and will meet with representatives from the United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees.
The southern Israeli town of Sderot, frequently targeted by rocket attacks perpetrated by Gaza militants, is on her itinerary as well.
According to a statement from the French embassy, the main purpose of the visit was to "examine how France along with its European partners and in coordination with the US can contribute to the renewal of direct (Israeli-Palestinian) negotiations, the only
way to achieve a viable solution to the conflict."