Coveney to meet Palestinian, Israeli leaders in the Middle East

His three-day visit includes engagements in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Ramallah

Coveney to meet Palestinian, Israeli leaders in the Middle East

Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney speaking to the media at Stormont Castle in Belfast | Image: Niall Carson/PA Wire/PA Images

Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney is beginning a three-day visit to the Middle East.

His Itinerary includes a wide range of engagements in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Ramallah.

On Tuesday, he is expected to meet with Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

This will follow a visit to Yad Vashem, where he will pay his respects to the victims of the Holocaust.

He will also pay a courtesy call on Israel's President, Reuben Rivlin.

Mr Coveney will then hold talks with Palestinian leaders in Ramallah on Thursday - meeting Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, and Foreign Affairs Minister Riad Malki.

He will also meet with United Nations officials, as well as representatives of Israeli and Palestinian NGOs funded by Irish Aid.

Speaking ahead of his arrival in Tel Aviv, Minister Coveney said: "I am not new to the region and the issues faced, but this is my first visit as Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade.

"In that context, I am looking forward to hearing a diverse range of views, from the Government of Israel and the Palestinian Authority, as well as from other international and non-governmental actors.

"Of course, I will also use the opportunity to make clear Ireland's concerns about the impact of the continuing occupation and the fact that, as things stand, the prospects of a comprehensive peace agreement remain dim".