NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen is scheduled to arrive in Israel tonight, on a Belgian Air Force plane, for his first official visit. It will be only the third visit to the country by the director of the alliance in its history.
Rasmussen is to meet separately tomorrow with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman. He is also scheduled to address the Herzliya Conference.
Rasmussen is expected to present to his hosts NATO's plans for the next several years in the areas of counter-terrorism, missile defense and intervention in arenas beyond Europe. His discussion here will focus on the situation in Egypt and on Israel's relations with the alliance.
In his former position as Danish prime minister, Rasmussen visited Israel in May 2008.
At a news briefing in Brussels yesterday, Rasmussen said unrest in Egypt and elsewhere in the region could lead to an increase in illegal migrants seeking to enter Europe. He said the unrest was not a direct threat to the 28 members of the military alliance, but could have an impact on the Middle East peace process and regional stability in general.
"That may also in the longer-term perspective have a negative impact on economies, which might lead to illegal immigration in Europe," he said.
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