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Peres Salutes Argentine Friendship, As New Buenos Aires Embassy Opens

Foreign Minister Shimon Peres saluted the friendship of the Argentine people with Israel on the occasion of the inauguration of new Israeli Embassy offices in Buenos Aires this week.

The new premises replace the embassy building destroyed in a March 17 bomb explosion that killed 29 people and injured more than 400.

An official report by the Argentina government in May was unable to identify the perpetrators of the bomb attack, which is believed to have been set off by a pickup truck outside the embassy. The U.S. State Department had charged there were strong indications Iran was involved in the bombing, although conclusive proof was lacking.

In a message to embassy personnel, Peres paid tribute to the expressions of support and solidarity” by Argentine President Carlos Menem, his government and the people of Argentina following the bomb attack.

Menem joined tens of thousands of Argentines in a demonstration two days after the blast to protest the bombing, which killed four Israelis, including deputy mission head David Ben-Raphael, and four local staffers.

Peres also praised the expressions of “common fate and destiny” with the stricken embassy by the Jewish community of Argentina.

He said the embassy was more than just a diplomatic mission for Israel’s friends in Argentina. “It is the focus and center of all Israeli-related activities and has rightly earned the name Casa Israel, the house of Israel,” he said.

“Israel’s flag continues to fly proudly in the Argentine capital,” the Israeli foreign minister said.

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