Ehrlich to meet with Ariel Sharon during 6-day trade mission to Israel

October 31, 2003|By David Nitkin | David Nitkin,SUN STAFF

Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. will embark on the first overseas trip of his administration next week when he joins 27 state officials and Maryland business, medical and Jewish community leaders on a six-day trade mission to Israel.

Ehrlich is scheduled to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom and other government officials, and will also announce cooperative projects involving electronic systems and marine biotechnology.

Chief of staff Steven L. Kreseski and press secretary Greg Massoni will accompany the governor on the trip, which runs from Tuesday to Nov. 9 and will cost taxpayers $52,350 for airfare, hotel, security and other expenses for eight state and university system officials. Other participants are paying their own way.

"We've got projects that are going to come to fruition. We have prospects, and the governor is going to be able to put the best foot in there and sell the state," said Barry E. Bogage, head of the Maryland/Israel Development Center, another participant. "This one is a real solid trip."

Bogage said that about $70 million in Maryland products are exported yearly to Israel, and that many of the country's top business sectors - information technology, telecommunications and life sciences - are in areas that parallel with Maryland's.

Ehrlich has visited Israel twice previously, said spokeswoman Shareese N. DeLeaver.

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