President Shimon Peres began his state visit to Canada on Monday, meeting with Governor-General David Johnston and conveying “the most profound thanks from Jerusalem to Ottawa for an uninterrupted friendship that your people have shown towards my people from the very first day of our statehood.”
Peres added, “I visited Canada for the first time 60 years ago; I was looking for means to defend ourselves and for friendship to open doors for peace. I met them both here. Since then I carry in my heart the feeling that Canada is a land of friendliness, displaying support and care. I sensed that Canada is always positive, never indifferent,” the president said regarding the period in which there was a weapons embargo against the State of Israel in its first days and Canada’s stance alongside Israel in the international arena at that time.
Peres called the official visit “an occasion to restate our shared nature as multicultural countries and our shared values, based on the conviction that every person was created in the image of the Lord.” He also called Israeli-Canadian relations “great and promising.”
Later Monday, Peres was to hold a series of diplomatic meetings including a private meeting with Prime Minister Stephen Harper, a meeting with Canadian government ministers, and a meeting with senior Canadian administration and Parliament officials.
The president is expected to discuss a series of diplomatic issues — especially, recent developments on the Iranian nuclear issue, changes in the Middle East and relations between Israel and its neighbors.