AFP
Last updated: 23 June, 2014

Israel’s Peres goes to US on last official visit

Israel’s President Shimon Peres is to travel to Washington late on Monday for his last foreign visit before leaving office next month, his office said.

“Peres will depart tonight on a diplomatic visit to the United States of America in what will be his final foreign trip” before stepping down in July at the end of his seven-year presidency, a statement said.

Peres would seek to “enlist support for the campaign to return the three kidnapped Israelis,” it said, referring to a vast operation in the West Bank to retrieve teenagers Israel says were abducted by the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas.

He is also due to hold talks with US President Barack Obama on Iran’s nuclear programme and negotiations between world powers and Tehran, which Israel has vehemently opposed.

Peres will be succeeded by Reuven Rivlin, a far-right member of the ruling Likud party who was elected by parliament as Israel’s 10th president in a secret ballot earlier this month.