WASHINGTON (May. 25)
Israel and the United States signed a $5.6 million cooperative agreement Wednesday to provide Israeli training and technical assistance to developing countries.
The agreement implements a section of the April 21 Memorandum of Agreement between the two governments, which calls for the U.S. Agency for International Development and the division of international cooperation in Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs — Mashav in Hebrew — to “meet periodically to coordinate and facilitate, as appropriate, programs of cooperative assistance to developing countries.”
Ran Kuriel, a counselor at the Israeli Embassy, said the two countries have held yearly consultations on Third World issues beginning in 1985 at the initiative of then Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Lawrence Eagleburger, and David Kimche, then director general of Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
He said that before 1985, there was minimal Third World cooperation, but that in the past three years, $12 million had been provided to Israel under “ad hoc” agreements to aid countries in the Caribbean, Central American and Africa.
The agreement was signed by Israeli Ambassador Moshe Arad and Alan Woods, administrator of the Agency for International Development. Under the agreement, AID will provide $4.5 million and Israel will provide $1.1 million this fiscal year for Israel to administer projects in 17 countries.
The projects include food production, natural resources management and rural and community development in Africa, Latin American, the Caribbean, Asia and the Near East, as well as technical training in Israel.
Recipients of the training include countries that don’t have diplomatic relations with Israel, Rep. Howard Berman (D-Calif.) told the 40 people attending the ceremony. They are believed to be African countries that broke diplomatic relations with Israel at the time of the 1973 Yom Kippur War.
Arad, who started his government career in the Mashav, said that through the program, 60,000 people have received training in developing nations from 10,000 Israelis.