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Kirchner promotes Chavez meeting

Argentina’s president said he wants to mend relations between Venezuela’s president and its Jewish community. During a visit to Venezuela, Nestor Kirchner met Tuesday with Confederation of Israeli Venezuelan Associations and World Jewish Congress leaders at the Puerto Ordaz presidential residency. Kirchner’s desire “to facilitate a future meeting with Hugo Chavez and the Venezuelan Jews was very much appreciated by the community,” WJC representative Claudio Epelman told JTA. Kirchner recently told the DAIA Argentine Jewish umbrella group that he had appointed personnel to encourage Chavez to foster a more positive relationship with the 15,000-strong local Jewish community. The community sees Chavez as promoting anti-Semitic attitudes, a view enforced by the president’s close relationship with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who openly denies the Holocaust and has called for Israel’s destruction. Iranian officials are also wanted in the 1994 terrorist attack on the AMIA Jewish Center in Buenos Aires, which killed 85 people.