Foreign minister Verhagen visiting Syria, Israel, and Palestinian Territories

From 22 to 25 June, foreign minister Maxime Verhagen will visit Syria, Israel, and the Palestinian Territories. His discussions with regional leaders will be dominated by the conflict in the Middle East. The Netherlands wants to get the peace talks on track as soon as possible.

In Damascus, Mr Verhagen will speak with Syrian president Bashar al-Asuad and foreign minister Walid Mualem. Mr Verhagen will also extend existing cooperation between Syria and the Netherlands on water management. The lack of water in the region is a potential cause of conflict. By transferring knowledge, the Netherlands want to help make the management of water reserves more efficient.

On Monday, Mr Verhagen will travel to Israel. Upon arrival, he will speak in Jerusalem with Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu.On Tuesday, he will speak with Palastinian prime minister Salam Fayyad and foreign minister Riyad al Malki. Later on Tuesday, he will speak with Israeli defence minister Ehud Barak.

On Wednesday, Mr Verhagen will speak with foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman and opposition leader Tzipi Livni. In addition, Mr Verhagen will meet European and American diplomats monitoring the border crossings with Gaza and helping develop the police and the justice system in the Palestinian Territories.

In May, Mr Verhagen visited Saudi Arabia and Qatar, where he held extensive discussions on the Arab peace initiative.