(Communicated by the President's Spokesperson)
Brazilian President Luis Ignacio (Lula) Da Silva arrived in Israel on Sunday, 14 March 2010, for a three-day visit.
The Brazilian President will be welcomed in an official ceremony at the President's residence, address a special Knesset session, open an economic conference, tour Yad Vashem, and attend a special state dinner held in his honor at the President's Residence. President Lula's delegation includes the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Minister of Industry and Development, the Minister of Communications, and the Governor of Bahia as well as 70 business leaders and 40 members of the Brazilian media.
The invitation to visit Israel was delivered to the Brazilian President by President Peres, when he visited Brazil last November. President Lula's visit comes at a time when Israel and Brazil are strengthening strategic and economic ties, especially in science and technology. Companies in both countries are cooperating closely as Brazil prepares to host the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympics.
President Lula's visit to Israel grew out of discussions between him and President Peres following the strong message of friendship the latter demonstrated in his visit to Brazil. The visit has great importance in that it will strengthen ties with one of the foremost powers of Latin America - a power which continues to strengthen politically and economically. Already last November President Lula issued a declaration that the Middle East is tired of conflict and needs new players. He stated his willingness to personally give a breath of fresh air into the region, settle conflicts, and advance peace. Thus his visit to Israel will be followed by visits both to the Palestinian Authority and to Jordan.
President Lula will be welcomed in an official ceremony at the President's Residence. Later, he and President Peres will address hundreds of Israeli and Brazilian business leaders at the start of economic conference on increasing cooperation. In the afternoon, President Peres will accompany President Lula as he addresses a special Knesset session and in the evening, he will host him for a state dinner that will include special performances by two Israeli musicians. On Tuesday, President Peres will accompany his guest on a tour of Yad Vashem. In addition to these events President Lula will meet the Prime Minister, the Knesset Speaker, and the Head of the Opposition.