Herbert meets Israeli, Palestinian leaders on trade trip
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Utah Gov. Gary Herbert presented gifts to Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres and Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad in separate diplomatic meetings as part of a trade trip to Israel this week.

"There are indeed meaningful possibilities for enhanced economic cooperation and vitality between the Beehive State and Israel," Herbert said in a statement.

Herbert met Wednesday with Peres at the president's residence in Jerusalem. Earlier in the day, he presented a photo book about Utah and a plate bearing the state seal to Fayyad, the outgoing prime minister of the Palestinian National Authority, during a meeting in Ramallah. Fayyad announced his resignation April 13.

Herbert and Fayyad discussed the potential for trade and investment opportunities between the business representatives accompanying Herbert on the trade mission and Palestinian companies.

"It is our hope that these historic meetings in the West Bank — between the Utah delegation and Palestinian leaders — will not only open up new opportunities and new markets for Utah and Palestine, but also lead to greater peace and prosperity through economic development," Herbert said.

The delegation is made up of members of the governor's staff and several top economic development officials, as well as state Rep. LaVar Christensen, R-Draper. The businesses represented include Intermountain Healthcare; HireVue, Inc., which offers digital interview software; Potash Ridge mining; Zions Bank; and representatives from two law firms.

The delegation left Saturday and will be in Israel through the end of the week. Members will be holding other meetings with business leaders, venture capitalists and community leaders, but details of the trip are being kept under wraps due to security concerns.

The trip had been originally scheduled for December, but was postponed due to unrest in the region.

Robert Gehrke