Organizers have confirmed that both Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani will attend the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, later this month.
This is the first time that the Israeli leader and his Iranian counterpart are scheduled to be at the same event simultaneously. In September — by way of planning that seemed almost intentional — their itineraries at the UN General Assembly in New York did not overlap.
It is unclear whether or not the two will meet face-to-face at the annual event in Davos, which brings together thousands of prominent international guests, including politicians, celebrities, academics and the mega-rich. The conference will take place on January 22 to 25, and notably coincides with the scheduled start of the Syria peace conference, also in Switzerland.
The Syria peace conference, or Geneva II, was almost derailed earlier this month, with the main Syrian opposition group declaring that it may not attend. The Syrian National Council, a largely secular and Western-backed consortium of smaller factions, cited the Bashar Assad regime’s refusal to cede power, and also the hanging threat that Iran, Assad’s main ally, would be included in peace negotiations.
Despite pressure from the UN, the US has refused thus far to allow Iran to participate in the upcoming talks.
US Secretary of State John Kerry is scheduled to meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Monday to further discuss the matter. Kerry may then come back to the region in a further effort to advance Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations.