FM Shalom meets Tunisian counterpart in diplomatic blitz
Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom met on Monday with his Tunisian counterpart Habib Ben Yahia to discuss improving relations between the two states.
The meeting comes amidst an Israeli diplomatic blitz scheduled to coincide with the opening of the 59th session of the United Nations General Assembly, the UN's main deliberating body, in its New York headquarters. The annual GA session is on Tuesday.
Israel is trying to convince other member states as well as non-governmental organizations that promoting peace in the Middle East requires a balanced, unbiased stance towards both sides of the conflict as well as the region's problems as a whole.
In their meeting, Ben Yahia proposed boosting Israeli tourism to the island of Djerba and mediating an Israeli-Palestinian dialogue.
Ben Yahia also brought up the fate of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.
Shalom said there is no intention to harm him but the possibility the government may decide to deport him does exist.
Shalom told Ben Yahia there are reformists within the Palestinian Authority but that Arafat prevents them from talking with Israel. Shalom will meet Tuesday with the Qatari foreign minister.
Shalom is also expected to meet with foreign ministers of Egypt, Jordan, Canada, Denmark and Angola as well as UN Secretary General Kofi Annan.