Lieberman trip aims to build Latin American ties

RIO DE JANEIRO (JTA) — Israel’s foreign minister departed on a Latin America tour to increase trade and strengthen ties with several countries.

Avigdor Lieberman left Monday on a 10-day trip to Brazil, Colombia, Peru and Argentina. The presidents and other governmental officials of those countries will be hosting an Israeli foregin minister for the first time in two decades.

The trip will tackle a series of diplomatic issues ranging from economic cooperation to the Iranian nuclear threat. In Brazil, which is Israel’s major commercial partner in the region, the first visit of an Israeli president slated for November will be discussed, as well as the Brazilian interest in engaging in the Middle East peace process.

"I attribute great importance to these countries," Lieberman said before departing, adding that it is was even more important now to strengthen ties with African and Latin American countries in light of Iran’s growing influence in those regions. "We shouldn’t invest only in the U.S. and Europe. The fight against Iran’s nuclearization should be expanded."

Joining Lieberman on the trip is a group of Israeli businessmen in the fields of technology, communications and agriculture. Lieberman also will meet with Jewish officials in the countries.

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