19 January 2018, Friday, 22:17

President of Israel refuses to visit Belarus


Shimon Peres will not visit Minsk despite numerous invitations from the Belarusian authorities.

The President of Israel marks his 90th birthday today. He was born in the Belarusian town of Vishneva near Valozhyn on August 2, 1923. It was reported earlier that Israeli and Belarusian diplomats were working to organise an official visit of Shimon Peres to his historical homeland. These statements were made by Israeli Ambassador to Belarus Iosif Shagal.

“We hope the President of Israel will pay an official visit to Belarus on his 90th birthday. We are working hard on the issue. If he comes, we will be able to say that the meeting of Peres and Lukashenka will result in signing serious documents,” he said earlier.

The invitation to the Israeli President to visit our country was sent by Ihar Liashchenia, the head of the Division for Africa and Middle East of the Belarusian MFA and former ambassador to Israel.

Shimon Peres is close to Belarus these days as never before. He arrived in Riga on July 29 and in Vilnius on July 31. The President of Israel had meetings with the leaders of Latvia and Lithuania. He was granted an honorary Vilnius citizenship at the Town Hall yesterday, ru.delfi.lt reports.

Israeli media earlier wrote that Shimon Peres was expected to pay an official visit to Belarus before visits to Latvia and Lithuania. According to izrus.co.il, the Belarusian authorities insisted on the visit on occasion of his 90th birthday. Official Minsk was also ready to accept a private visit of Shimon Peres. Nevertheless, the Israeli president has no plans to go to Belarus before or after his visit to the Lithuanian capital. He will return to Jerusalem from Vilnius.

Shimon Peres is the third Belarus-born president of Israel after Chaim Weizmann from the village of Motal, the Brest region, and Zalman Shazar who was born near Stoubtsy.

Shimon Peres visited Belarus two times since the early 1990s. Though he left Vishneva as a small boy, he recognised the site where the family house stood and the well.

Photo: © WEF