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Merkel starts farewell visit to Israel

Xinhua | Updated: 2021-10-10 17:02

German Chancellor Angela Merkel attends a cabinet meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett in Jerusalem, Oct 10, 2021. [Photo/Agencies]

JERUSALEM - Germany's outgoing Chancellor Angela Merkel kick-started her visit to Israel on Sunday morning, marking her final official trip to the country before she leaves office.

Merkel began her visit with a meeting with Israel's newly-elected Prime Minister Naftali Bennett. Merkel and Bennett are expected to talk about regional issues, including Iran, according to a statement issued by the PM's office.

Later, Merkel will pay a visit to Yad Vashem, Israel's official Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem.

Her schedule includes also a meeting with Israeli President Isaac Herzog and talks with industry and high-tech entrepreneurs.

German Ambassador to Israel Susanne Wasum-Rainer wrote on Twitter that the aim of the visit is to "strengthen our unique relationship."

Merkel arrived at Ben Gurion Airport outside Tel Aviv late on Saturday as a guest of Bennett, who ended Benjamin Netanyahu's 12-year consecutive rule in June.

Her two-day farewell travel came after 16 years in office during which she had cultivated warm ties with the Jewish state.

Her trip was supposed to take place in August, but was postponed amid the chaotic withdrawal of the US forces from Afghanistan.

Merkel last visited Israel in 2018.

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