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Lieberman Heads to South America

FM Lieberman leaves to South America to visit Brazil, Argentina, Peru and Columbia. Visit part of plan to develop new ties.
By Maayana Miskin
First Publish: 7/20/2009, 8:38 PM

(Flash 90)

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman left Monday for a ten-day visit to South America. He plans to visit Brazil, Argentina, Peru and Columbia.

While in Brazil, Lieberman plans to sign an aviation agreement. He plans to sign agreements in Peru as well.

In each of his destinations, Lieberman has scheduled meetings with both senior government officials and local Jewish leaders. In Argentina, he will visit the site of the 1994 bombing of the Jewish Community Center in Buenos Aires, which took place almost exactly 15 years ago.

The visit will be the first by an Israeli foreign minister for several years. From the beginning of his term, Lieberman has stressed the importance of reaching out to south and central America, Africa, and other regions previously overlooked by Israeli diplomats.

Israel's interests will be best served by developing ties outside of North America and western Europe, Lieberman has explained.

Part of Lieberman's goal is to weaken Iran's influence in Central and South America. Iranian leaders have reached out to several countries in the region, offering trade and strengthening diplomatic ties.

Lieberman is not the only senior Israeli official to visit the region: Public Security Minister Yitzchak Aharonovich recently visited Panama and Costa Rica, and Deputy Minister Danny Ayalon attended a conference in Honduras. Minister Uzi Landau and President Shimon Peres have scheduled trips to the region in upcoming weeks.