President Reuven Rivlin on Thursday morning welcomed three newly appointed ambassadors from China, New Zealand and Burkina Faso in an official ceremony at the President's Residence in Jerusalem.
As the incoming Chinese Ambassador Zhan Yongxin presented his diplomatic credentials to Rivlin, he said, "I bring with me the greetings of the Chinese President, and wish to express my appreciation of the warm welcome I have received in Israel."
"The Chinese and Jewish peoples have enjoyed a long standing friendship and this serves as a solid foundation for furthering our cooperation. We have, since the establishment of diplomatic relations, made considerable progress in our cooperation in various fields, and frequent political interchanges and mutual visits have taken place, especially in the fields of innovation and technology."
"It is time for us to turn plans into action and transform expectation into reality," said Yongxin. "I believe we can double the trade volume between Israel and China over the next decade. It is my hope that will be able to embolden our fruitful cooperation in many fields."
The talk of doubling trade volume comes as Israel and China plan to discuss a Free Trade Agreement this year, amid rapidly growing bilateral ties. Israel has been actively developing an Asian alliance, boosting ties with China, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and India.
For his part, Rivlin spoke about the Nepalese earthquake disaster last Saturday and the Chinese assistance in aiding Israeli rescue efforts.
"I want to thank you for your government's involvement in assisting Israeli tourists in Nepal after the terrible earthquake - for this I thank you and your country, from the bottom of my heart," Rivlin told Yongxin.
"Don't always see things the same"
Also presenting his diplomatic credentials was Jonathan Andrew Curr of New Zealand, who said, "the relationship between Israel and New Zealand is very important to me personally as newly appointed ambassador, but also to the people of New Zealand as a whole."
"There is a very deep relationship between our two peoples, and a great amount of cooperation," Curr said. "We don't always see things exactly the same way in this region, but our approach has always been to listen to our friends and learn and understand their concerns. This visit is an opportunity to understand and learn more of Israel's outlook on developments in the region."
New Zealand is looking for a way to force "peace talks" between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) to be restarted via a UN resolution, it was reported on Tuesday.
In welcoming the new ambassador, Rivlin said, "I have been to New Zealand just once in my life but I will never forget the wonderful people I met there. New Zealand is a model of multiculturalism. We enjoy very strong relations between our countries, and though there are differences of opinions, as friends, we can agree to disagree."
"I would ask you to express to the government in New Zealand, the message that a solution to the conflict will be possible only through direct negotiations, and not through unilateral moves on the part of our neighbors the Palestinians," concluded Rivlin.
"A dream of the eternal city of Jerusalem"
From Burkina Faso, Gnama Henri Bacye told Rivlin, "I want to thank you and the State of Israel for your warm welcome. For me, arriving in the eternal city of Jerusalem is a dream come true. I visited the Old City, and at the Western Wall I prayed for peace for your region and the whole world."
"I would like that my submitting of credentials today, will be moment of renewal and increasing our relationship," said Bacye, raising a proposal to encourage retired Israelis to come to Burkina Faso to help out with their experience and knowledge.
He also invited Rivlin to visit the West African state. Rivlin thanked him for the invitation, saying of the proposal, "Israeli pensioners certainly represent a wealth of experience and knowledge."
Rivlin added, "I am very pleased to receive your credentials and welcome you to the President's Residence. Our relations with you are of high importance, we are cooperating in a range of subjects."
"I know that even as we speak, the director general of your Ministry of Agriculture is visiting Israel. The mutual exchange of information is beneficial to both our countries, and we will be happy to continue and deepen our relationship," concluded the president.