Merkel cancels Israel visit due to situation in Afghanistan

The German Chancellor had been scheduled to visit Israel this weekend and meet Bennett and Herzog.

Elad Benari ,

Angela Merkel
Angela Merkel
Reuters

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has cancelled her planned visit to Israel due to the situation in Afghanistan, the German government said Thursday.

The visit was called off in consultation with Prime Minister Naftali Bennett “because of current developments in Afghanistan,” Merkel’s office said in a statement.

It added said the chancellor intends to go ahead with her visit at an unspecified later time.

Merkel’s spokeswoman last week announced that the chancellor will head to Israel on Saturday for talks with the country's new government just weeks before she is due to leave office.

Merkel was scheduled to meet Bennett and President Isaac Herzog during the visit.

The chancellor, who is due to retire from politics following September 26 elections in Germany, was also to have received an honorary doctorate from the Technion Israel Institute of Technology.

Merkel called Bennett in June to congratulate him on the formation of a government and assuming office. At the time, Bennett invited Merkel to visit Israel.

While Germany and Israel are considered close allies, Merkel and former Prime MIinster Benjamin Netanyahu had some differences, mostly around the peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA).

Merkel has several times insisted that the “two-state solution” is the best way to end the Israel-PA conflict while criticizing Israel over its construction in Judea and Samaria.

At a Government-to-Government meeting in Berlin in December 2012, Merkel and Netanyahu “agreed to disagree” over Israeli construction in areas the PA claims for a future state.

German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier visited Israel at the end of June, stressing support for the country and pledging to continue to fight against anti-Semitism in Germany.



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