ROME (JTA) – Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti and a high-level delegation of government ministers and businesspeople flew to Israel for a bilateral summit with Israeli leaders.
It is Monti’s second visit to Israel in just over six months.
For Thursday’s meeting, the third such Italy-Israel intergovernmental summit, the announced themes are growth, science and culture. A number of bilateral agreements are scheduled to be signed.
The Italian delegation includes the ministers of foreign affairs, defense, economic development, justice and education, as well as scientists and IT start-up executives.
Monti’s agenda includes meetings with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Shimon Peres and other senior figures. Topics ranging from the crisis in Syria, the stalled Middle East peace process and the Iranian nuclear threat will be addressed.
The Italian news agency ANSA reported that “Italy, which has been able to establish positive relations with the Arab Spring governments, might well offer Israel a channel through which to attempt a rapprochement, for example with Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, and to restart the never-easy dialogue with some Arab countries.”