The IDF Chief of the General Staff, Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi departed for an official five-day work visit to Italy and France. Lt. Gen. Ashkenazi was invited by his counterparts, the Chief of Defense Staff of Italy, General Vincenzo Camporini, and the French Chief of Defense Staff, Admiral Edouard Guillaud. The three will discuss mutual security challenges and the situation in the Middle East.
The visit is aimed at strengthening cooperation between the countries and their militaries.
In addition to meeting with his Italian counterpart, General Camporini, the Chief of the General Staff will meet with senior figures from the Italian Ministry of Defense, Israel’s Ambassador to Italy, Mr. Gideon Meir, and the leaders of Italy’s Jewish community. Lt. Gen. Ashkenazi will also tour Italian military bases and meet with senior commanders from the Italian General Staff. He will also visit and give a modest address at the historical Arch of Titus in Rome, on Monday, July 19th, 2010.
The IDF Chief of the General Staff will also visit France. There he will meet with his counterpart, Admiral Guillaud, President Sarkozy’s Military Assistant, General Puga, the Political Advisor, General Georgelin, and with leaders of France’s Jewish community.
Accompanying Lt. Gen. Ashkenazi are his wife Ronit, the IDF Spokesperson Brig. Gen. Avi Benayahu, Head of the International Military Cooperation Department, Col. Dan Hefez, and his aide.
The IDF Deputy Chief of the General Staff, Maj. Gen. Benny Gantz, will act in Lt. Gen. Ashkenazi’s place during his absence.