The President of Israel, Shimon Peres, will pay a state visit to Norway on 12 and 13 May. The news has already sparked some controversy in Norway and is likely to lead to further protests related to the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories. While state visits are undertaken on the invitation of the King it is of course the government which actually makes the decisions about state visits.
It will be the first state visit ever exchanged between Norway and Israel, although there were plans for the King and Queen to pay a state visit to Israel in 2000, a trip which was cancelled due to the outbreak of the second intifada.
It will also be the first incoming state visit to Norway since the visit of President Sauli Niinistö of Finland and his wife Jenni Haukio in October 2012. While there used to be on average two state visits abroad and two incoming state visits per year recent years have for unknown reasons seen a decline in the number of state visits.
The King and Queen will receive another foreign head of state on 30 April, when King Philippe and Queen Mathilde of the Belgians make a so-called introductory visit to Oslo, but this will not be a state visit.
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