British Prime Minister David Cameron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel are to visit Israel next month, trips seen as an expression of solidarity and encouragement for Israel and the Palestinians during the ongoing US-brokered peace process.
Cameron will arrive in the middle of February on his first official visit since taking office in 2010. Merkel will land a week later, accompanied by German government ministers, for a meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
and his cabinet.
The visits by the two most important leaders in Europe will come on the heels of trips to Israel by a host of other senior officials throughout January. These include US Secretary of State John Kerry, the driving force behind the current negotiations, who has notched up more than 10 visits to the region since becoming America's top diplomat and was expected to arrive Wednesday afternoon.
Among the other dignitaries set to visit this month are German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, who will arrive on January 11; Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who lands on January 19 and who will give a speech at the Knesset; Romanian President President Traian Băsescu, who arrives on the same day as Harper; and new Georgian Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili, who will be accompanied by his foreign minister Maia Panjikidze, is due to visit a week later.
Also expected this month is the Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa on a three-day visit. Peruvian President Ollanta Humala is also visiting, at a date that has yet to be determined.