(JTA) — After a 12-year closure, Paraguay reopened its embassy in Israel.
Israel closed its embassy in Paraguay in 2002 as part of budget-cutting measures, and Paraguay responded in kind.
In the ceremony Monday at the new embassy in the Tel Aviv suburb of Herzliya Pituach, Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Zeev Elkin spoke of his trip last year to Paraguay for the inauguration of President Horacio Cartes. Elkin invited Cartes to visit Israel in order “to strengthen our ties.”
“We want to participate in infrastructure projects, and energy and agricultural modernization in Paraguay,” Elkin said.
Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman will travel to Paraguay on July 24. His Paraguayan counterpart, Eladio Loizaga, also plans to visit Israel but has yet to set a date.
The Israeli government is looking to increase its ties to Latin America. On Sunday, the government approved a three-year, $14.4 million plan to strengthen its economic ties with the Pacific Alliance, a coalition of five Latin American countries — Colombia, Chile, Mexico, Peru and Costa Rica.
In addition, a Latin American bureau will be established at the Israeli Ministry of Economy’s Foreign Trade Administration, as well as at the Foreign Ministry’s economic branch.
Israel also has a free-trade agreement with the South American Mercosur bloc, which includes Paraguay.