French President Francois Hollande arrived in Israel together with his partner Valerie Trierweiler, for a state visit along with a delegation of senior French government ministers (17-19 November 2013). PM Netanyahu to Cabinet:
"Today we will welcome French President Francois Hollande and ministers of his government, including Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius. They come as friends and will be welcomed as friends. This visit would be important at any time both for bilateral relations but also, of course, in light of the talks being held in Geneva on the Iranian nuclear issue."
President Hollande was welcomed at Ben-Gurion International Airport in an official state welcome ceremony by President Shimon Peres
, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and senior public officials during which President Peres thanked President Hollande for France's historic support and friendship of Israel.
President Shimon Peres then hosted a welcome ceremony at the President's Residence for French President Hollande
on the red carpet along with schoolchildren from the Marc Chagall School who will welcome him with songs and deliver welcome greetings in Hebrew, Arabic and French. After the welcome ceremony the two presidents proceeded to the garden of the President's Residence where they planted a tree as a sign of the strength of the cooperation between the two countries.
President Peres and President Hollande were then joined by senior government ministers for a diplomatic working meeting. During the meeting the two presidents and the delegations discussed the latest developments in the efforts to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons including the talks in Geneva as well as the progress in the peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians. At the conclusion of the meeting the two presidents delivered joint statements to the press.
In the evening, President Hollande met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The two men held a joint press conference
and signed bilateral cooperation agreements.
On Monday morning, President Hollande will visit the Church of St. Anne
in the Old City of Jerusalem, from which he will proceed to the Palestinian Authority. In the afternoon, he will address a special session of the Knesset plenum, to be followed by a state dinner at President Peres' Jerusalem residence attended by senior members of the French and Israeli governments, Prime Minister Netanyahu and 140 honored guests representing the strength and depth of French-Israeli relations.
On Tuesday morning, President Hollande will lay a stone on the graves of the victims of the March 2012 terrorist attack on a Jewish school in Toulouse
. From there, he will tour an exhibition on Israeli technological innovation.
During the visit, Prime Minister Netanyahu and French President Hollande will sign a joint statement that expresses the continued growth of bilateral relations, the determination to continue and deepen cooperation in many areas of strategic importance, and the strengthening of economic, scientific, educational and cultural ties between the two countries.
Prime Minister Netanyahu said, "The French President is a close friend of the State of Israel and I look forward to hosting him and his partner in Israel, especially at this time when the major powers, including France, are discussing ways to halt the Iranian military nuclear program. I am also pleased to host his team and French government ministers, including Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, who is taking an active and important part in the current talks by the major powers. Together we will work to advance and deepen bilateral strategic and economic relations."