Photo: David Vinocur
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Photo: David Vinocur

President Reuven Rivlin to visit Brussels

Amid heightened security threats in Belgium, Rivlin set to proceed with first state visit to the country, meet with senior officials and address EU parliament; No meeting set with Mahmoud Abbas who will stay in same hotel.

President Reuven Rivlin will land on Monday morning in Belgium for his first state visit to Brussels and the European Union (EU) and will deliver a speech before the European parliament.



Belgium has been on high alert for terrorist activities since the double attack on the capital's airport and the metro line in March 2015. Over the last few days, trepidation has further increased as authorities fear that Islamic terrorists could attempt to strike during the European Championship soccer tournament.


In an effort to prevent such attacks, the Belgian police have conducted an unprecedented wave of arrests based on intelligence information provided by the security services.


Despite these tensions however, Rivlin will proceed with the planned visit which will require the special security coordination between the Shin Bet and Belgian security forces.


Photo: Eli Mendelbaum
Photo: Eli Mendelbaum


Without elaborating on the specifics, security sources say that the detail around Rivlin will be significantly reinforced and that special security steps will be taken to ensure his safety. “We are unable to speak about the security arrangements of the people under protection,” the Shin Bet stated.


The day after Rivlin’s speech, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is also expected to address the European parliament. Moreover, while the two will stay in the same hotel in Brussels, the president’s residence has stated that no meeting has been scheduled to take place.


Along with a number of other dignitaries, Rivlin will meet with President of the European Council Donald Tusk, President of European Parliament Martin Schulz, President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini, Secretary General of NATO Jens Stoltenberg.


The current relationship between Israel and the EU is at a low ebb, particularly in light of the latter’s decision to label Israeli products which come from the West Bank.


During his speech to the EU parliament, Rivlin is expected to emphasize the importance of re-launching direct negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians as the only route to any kind of plausible agreement. He will also call upon the EU to assist in bringing the two sides to the negotiating table.


פרסום ראשון: 06.20.16, 10:57
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