Photo: Reuters
Secretary-General António Guterres
Photo: Reuters

UN chief Guterres to arrive to Israel Sunday

United Nations Secretary-General Guterres will meet with Israeli defense officials to discuss Iran's presence in Syria and its arms smuggling to Hezbollah, Israel's fight against Hamas, and its policies in the West Bank.

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres will arrive on Sunday evening for a four-day visit to Israel and the Palestinian Authority, his first to the region since taking office in January.



At the beginning of his visit, Gutters has asked to lay a wreath on the grave of his friend, former president Shimon Peres. He will also lay a wreath on the grave of Theodor Herzl, the visionary of the Jewish state.


During his visit, he is scheduled to meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Reuven Rivlin, Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman and Opposition chairman Isaac Herzog.


United Nations Secretary-General Guterres will be making his first visit to the region (Photo: AP) (Photo: AP)
United Nations Secretary-General Guterres will be making his first visit to the region (Photo: AP)


Guterres will also meet with the family of IDF soldier Sgt. Oron Shaul, who was killed during the 2014 Operation Protective Edge in Gaza and his body was captured by Hamas, as well as the families of Abera Mengistu and Hisham al-Sayed, both of whom entered the Gaza Strip and are believed to be held prison by Hamas. The family of Lt. Hadar Goldin, who suffered a similar fate as Shaul, will likely be unable to attend as they are scheduled to attend another event at the time of the meeting.


The UN chief is expected to see Israel in a helicopter tour and visit the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem.


Additionally, Gutteres is scheduled to meet with senior security officials, including Deputy IDF Chief of Staff Yair Kochavi, who will brief the UN leader on the latest intelligence reports regarding Iranian entrenchment in Syria.


The different Israeli officials will ask Gutteres to help recruit the help of the international community to stop Iran's increasing and dangerous influence in Syria as well as its efforts to smuggle weapons to Hezbollah in Lebanon. To that end, the Israeli officials will discuss increasing the activities of the UN peacekeeping forces (UNIFIL) in southern Lebanon.


Maj. Gen. Kochavi and the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), Maj. Gen. Yoav Mordechai, will also present Guterres with Israel's policy in the West Bank, projects and challenges vis-à-vis Hamas in the Gaza Strip, and the aid Israel provides around the world, including to Syrians wounded in the civil war.


Guterres will watch a demonstration of Israeli innovation in an effort to combat growing hostility towards the country in the UN. He will be shown several Israeli technological developments put into use around the world, saving lives and assisting people in third world countries.


On Wednesday, the UN secretary general will make a speech at the Museum of the Jewish People at Beit Hatfutsot.


After his visit to Israel, Guterres will travel to Ramallah to meet with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and later visit UN facilities in Gaza.


While in the region, the UN chief will meet with Jason Greenblatt, US President Donald Trump's envoy to the Middle East, to discuss the peace process.


Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon, who will accompany Guterres on his trip, said Sunday, "In the face of attempts to hurt Israel at the UN, we expect to present to the secretary-general Israel's real face, its impressive achievements and its contribution to the world. in addition, we'll present him with the complex reality and challenges we deal with in the Middle East."



פרסום ראשון: 08.27.17, 14:00
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