Israeli minister in Turkey for first time in three years, to attend UN environment conference

Photo: Israeli minister in Turkey for first time in three years, to attend UN environment conference  / Turkey

Israel's Environment Minister Amir Peretz arrived in Istanbul on Dec. 4 to attend a United Nations conference in the first visit from an Israeli government official since the Mavi Marmara raid on May 2010 Hurriyetdailynews reported.

"Everything is very well," Peretz said, avoiding the reporters' insistent questions after landing in Istanbul in the evening hours of Dec 4, private broadcaster NTV reported.

Peretz will attend the 18th ordinary meeting of the contracting parties to the Barcelona convention and its protocols on fighting the contamination in the Mediterranean Sea that will last two days.

A total of 21 Mediterranean countries are to participate in the meeting hosted by Turkish Environment and Urbanization Minister Erdogan Bayraktar.

The ordinary meetings are held once every two years to keep under review the implementation of the Barcelona Convention on the protection of the marine environment.

A normalization process began between the two countries after Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu apologized to his counterpart, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, last March for the raid on the Gaza flotilla, including the Mavi Marmara ship, in which nine Turkish citizens were killed.

Both countries have since launched talks on the compensations for the relatives of the victims of the raid. Israel is said to be considering reinstating an ambassador to Turkey as soon as possible before the end of talks if both parties agree on mutual

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