Netanyahu embarks on historic visit to Latin America

Netanyahu is taking off on an historic visit to Latin America,  the latest breakthrough in Israel’s diplomatic achievements.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is scheduled to embark Sunday evening on an historic visit to Latin America, the first such official visit by a sitting Israeli prime minister. The agenda includes visits to Argentina, Colombia and Mexico, highlighting Israel’s high-tech expertise.

Paraguayan President Horacio Cartes will travel to Buenos Aires to meet with Netanyahu, who will be accompanied by a delegation of Israeli entrepreneurs in the fields of agriculture, water, communications and energy.

Members of the delegation will hold commercial meetings with their local counterparts. Economic events will also be held in Argentina and Mexico, led by Netanyahu and the Argentine and Mexican heads of state.

Netanyahu will begin his trip in Buenos Aires, where he will meet with President Mauricio Macri. The two countries are expected to sign a series of agreements on public security, customs and social insurance as well as an archives agreement regarding the Holocaust.

In Buenos Aires, the Israeli premier will attend ceremonies in Embassy Square, site of the 1992 terrorist bombing, along with family members of the Israeli diplomats who were killed in the attack. He will also visit the Jewish community building (AMIA), site of the 1994 terrorist attack, along with family members of the victims – 115 people died in both attacks – as well as survivors.

From Argentina, Netanyahu will fly to Bogota to meet with Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos. The two countries will sign joint agreements: a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in science and a tourism cooperation agreement.

From Colombia, the Israeli leader will fly to Mexico City, where he will meet with Mexican President Enrique Peńa Nieto. Israel and Mexico will sign an MOU on space, an aviation agreement, a communications agreement and a cooperation agreement with MASHAV, Israel’s Agency for International Development Cooperation.

Netanyahu will also attend events with local Jewish communities in Argentina, Colombia and Mexico and meet with community leaders.

Strengthening of Israel’s International Position

“This is a gigantic bloc that we have not yet visited,” Netanyahu stated at an event last week. “It is a great market in a large bloc of important countries. There is a breakthrough here…the fundamental assumption was that if we made an agreement with the Palestinians, which we have wanted and still want, it will open the world to us. There is no doubt that it will help, but the world has opened even without it, and it does not detract from the importance of considering tracks and the diplomatic process and normalization,” he said.

Addressing the weekly cabinet meeting on Sunday, Netanyahu explained that the trip is meant to “develop reciprocal economic relations between the countries.”

“We are, in effect, doing what we are doing in Asia, Africa, Australia, Eastern Europe, the eastern Mediterranean basin and around the world. This visit will strengthen our economic, security and technological ties with Latin America and it constitutes a continuation of the strengthening of Israel’s international position, a systematic process that we are successfully leading,” he stated.

Mexico experienced a severe earthquake over the weekend which killed tens of people. Netanyahu conveyed Israel’s condolences to the families of the victims.

“We understand that these are difficult days for this country, for the Mexican people. In my talks with the President of Mexico, we will offer aid in reconstruction or any other assistance that we can give,” Netanyahu added.

Following his visit to Latin America, Netanyahu will fly to New York to attend the UN General Assembly, where he will deliver an address on its opening day. He is also due to meet with various world leaders, including US President Donald Trump.

By: World Israel News Staff