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Argentina FM’s visit to Israel seen as launching ‘new era’ of ties

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BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (JTA) — A visit to Israel by Argentina’s foreign minister and the signing of several agreements is being called a ‘new era’ in ties between the two countries.

Foreign Minister Hector Timerman, who is Jewish, is scheduled to meet in Israel with President Shimon Peres, his Israeli counterpart Avigdor Liberman and Justice Minister Tzipi Livni. On the trip, which begins Monday, Timerman also will participate in Holocaust Remembrance Day ceremonies at Yad Vashem.

Under a recently signed deal, Argentina will buy a squadron of up to 18 upgraded Kfir fighter jets from Israel, according to the Israeli business daily  Globes.

“We are in a better mood now, the relationship is getting closer, we will receive Timerman in Israel and also we have four new agreements to sign with Argentina,” Dori Shavit, Israel’s ambassador in Buenos Aires, told JTA. “This new era will benefit both countries.”

Israel was among the critics of the memorandum of understanding that Argentina signed with Iran in January 2013 to jointly investigate the AMIA 1994 Jewish center bombing attack.

The four agreements involve film production, air space routes and a deal between Argentina’s Aerorlieas Argentinas and Israel’s El Al, a policy for the disabled and education.

“We expect that Timerman could sign some of these agreements in Israel; we are working hard on this,” Shavit said.

On Friday morning, Timerman received a delegation from DAIA, the Argentine Jewish political umbrella, for discussions on the Argentine-Israel relations and the foreign minister’s trip to Israel. The DAIA group asked for a meeting with Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner to ask that she cancel the agreement with Iran.

 

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