Germany's Chancellor Merkel in Israel for joint cabinet talks

The German chancellor and her ministers are in Tel Aviv for two days of joint cabinet talks

The German chancellor and her ministers are in Tel Aviv for two days of joint cabinet talks

JERUSALEM - Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel and 16 of her ministers arrived in Tel Aviv for the two-day long 5th Joint Cabinet Talks on Monday, according to a statement from Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office.

It was also stated that the cabinets of the two states would sign 18 cooperation agreements in areas including security, foreign relations, economy, trade, education, sports and health services.

The main topic of this year’s meeting will be "innovation."

During a meeting with Israeli President Shimon Peres, Merkel will be awarded the highest state medal of Israel - the "Presidential Medal of Distinction" - according to a statement from Israel's President Shimon Peres' office.

Ahead of the visit, Germany’s Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier criticized Monday Israel's settlement expansion policy.

"We view decisions on expansion of settlements not only helpful but also harmful to peace efforts," Steinmeier said in a written statement. "We have said this clearly in the past, and we will of course talk about this during our visit," Steinmeier said.

Steinmeier said the Middle East peace process would play "a major role" in consultations between German and Israeli governments Monday and Tuesday.

Copyright © 2014 Anadolu Agency