President of Paraguay makes first-ever state visit to Israel

In a first-ever visit to Israel by a leader of Paraguay, President Horacio Manuel Cartes made history on Sunday when he landed in the Jewish State.

Paraguay’s President Horacio Manuel Cartes made history on Sunday when he arrived in Israel for the first state visit by a president of Paraguay to the Jewish State.

President Reuven Rivlin hosted Cartes at his residence, welcoming him on the red carpet as the two presidents stood for the national anthem and reviewed a guard of honor, before going on to deliver brief public statements.

“This is an historic visit, the first visit of a president of Paraguay here in Israel,” Rivlin stated. “Paraguay has been and remains a true friend of Israel since the founding of the State of Israel, and even before when it voted in favor of the establishment of Israel. We are pleased to see the strengthening of ties between our countries, and I hope that your visit here will serve to further deepen these good relations.”

The president continued to expand on Israel’s recently augmented activities in Latin America in in a number of fields, including economy, science, technology, trade, and security.

“Today, Israel is assisting many states in the development and efficient production of food sources. Israel is willing and able to utilize its experience in the development of agricultural infrastructure in Paraguay too, which is indeed a country with fertile soil. Experience, knowledge, and cooperation can change the world. Paraguay is a country with a young population – like Israel – looking to the future.”

Rivlin concluded by wishing Cartes a fruitful and successful visit and said, “I hope that beyond the official meetings you have scheduled you will have a chance to visit Jerusalem, the city holy to three faiths, and tour the land of Israel, the land of the Bible. Here, one can touch history.”

“This is an emotional and historic visit for all of us, and we are excited and delighted to visit Israel, a friend of Paraguay,” Cartes reciprocated. He said he saw his visit as an opportunity to strengthen the decades-old ties between the two countries, which “are no less thanks to the values we share.”

He noted Israel’s ability in agriculture and agri-tech, and said his country is interested in “working to share knowledge and technologies which will contribute to the development of our country and its young population.”

He also pointed out that “in truth, it is not such good news that this is only the first visit of a Paraguayan president to Israel, something which makes my visit of even greater importance.”

The two presidents went on to hold a working meeting during which they discussed the strengthening of bilateral ties between the two countries.

They are slated to address a state dinner held in honor of Cartes’ visit.

Paraguay exports $190 million to Israel annually in soy, beef, charcoal and other products, according to official data from 2015. In Israel, 40 percent of the meat consumed is Paraguayan.

Last June, Israel delivered drip irrigation systems to Paraguayan farmers, a result of collaboration with local cooperatives.

Earlier in January 2015, Israel donated food and assistance kits to help Paraguayans displaced by massive flooding in the region, the worst in half a century.

Israel’s embassy in Asuncion was reopened last year after the closure in 2002 along with 15 other diplomatic missions around the world because of budgetary constraints.

By: Aryeh Savir, World Israel News