Minister Virolainen to visit Israel, Palestinian territory and Jordan

Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Anne-Mari Virolainen will visit Israel, the occupied Palestinian territory and Jordan from 5 to 10 May 2018. The aim of the visit is to get an update of the humanitarian situation and to seek ways to promote trade relations and bilateral cooperation.

In Israel, Minister Anne-Mari Virolainen will promote the bilateral commercial cooperation between Finland and Israel, focusing on innovations and startup activities. Israel is Finland's third biggest trading partner in the Middle East. The European Union is Israel's biggest trading partner. Director-General Pekka Soini from Business Finland will be among the members of the delegation accompanying the Minister.

”Meetings with Israel's Minister of Science and Technology Ofir Akunis and venture capital investors, and roundtable discussions with actors in the sector will provide opportunities for enhancing Israeli investors' interest in Finland as a target of investment," Virolainen says.

In the discussions with Minister of Finance Shukri Bishara and Minister of Education Sabri Saidam in the occupied Palestinian territory, Minister Virolainen will affirm Finland's support for the two-state solution and Palestinian state-building. In the occupied Palestinian Territory, Finland supports mainly the education sector and the most vulnerable areas, and channels humanitarian assistance to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Middle East (UNRWA)

In Jordan, the Minister will learn about the humanitarian and refugee situation. She will hold discussions with Minister of Planning and International Cooperation Imad N. Fakhoury and visit the Azraq refugee camp, where she will hear about the activities of the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNCHR) and projects carried out by Finn Church Aid and UN Women, a United Nations organization dedicated to gender equality and the empowerment of women.

"Due to the protracted Syria conflict, the situation in the area is extremely difficult. Finland is committed to providing humanitarian assistance and to participating in the stabilisation of the region, and supporting the resilience of the local communities. The sustainability of Jordan and Syria's other neighbouring countries has been put to an extremely hard test," Virolainen points out.

The visit to Jordan will also offer an opportunity to discuss Finnish companies' expertise especially in the water, health and energy technologies. The Minister's visit to Jordan will coincide with a visit by a delegation of 15 companies, convened by Business Finland's Growth program in cooperation with Karelia University of Applied Sciences.

Juha Kirstilä, Special Adviser to the Minister for Foreign Trade and Development, tel. +358 40 552 8200 and Leena-Kaisa Mikkola, Director General of the Department for Africa and the Middle East, tel. +358 295 351 977.

The Foreign Ministry’s email addresses are in the format