Israeli PM heads to Latin America for “historic” visit


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday he hopes his upcoming visit to Latin America would boost ties between Israel and the continent.

The five-day visit, which marks the first visit of a sitting Israeli prime minister to Latin America, will start later on Sunday before Netanyahu heads to New York to address the General Assembly of the United Nations.

His itinerary includes stops in Argentina — 25 years after the Israeli embassy was hit by a deadly bomb attack — Colombia, and Mexico, in addition to a meeting with the President of Paraguay Horacio Cartes while in Buenos Aires.

The visit aims at increasing trade and business ties with Latin American countries, as part of Israel’s strategy to widen the scope of its diplomacy and trade to new regions, including Asia and Africa.

“In Argentina and Mexico, I will be joined by delegations from Israeli companies in order to develop reciprocal economic relations between the countries,” Netanyahu told Israel’s weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem.

“We are, in effect, doing what we are doing in Asia, Africa, Australia, Eastern Europe, the eastern Mediterranean basin and around the world,” he said.

“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 added.

The visit will start two days after Mexico experienced a severe earthquake. Netanyahu said Israel sends condolences to the families of the victims and in his talks with the president of Mexico, Enrique Pena Nieto, he will offer aid in reconstruction and other assistance.