Paraguayan president to visit Israel for bilateral discussions

(JTA) – Paraguayan President Horacio Cartes will visit Israel to discuss several co-operation agreements between the two countries.

Cartes will meet both Isaeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Reuven Rivlin during his mid-July visit to discuss bilateral interests in the areas of agriculture, technology and education, reported Ultima Hora newspaper on Monday.

“The visit will help us strengthen our co-operation. We have been doing a lot of work together, which we wish to expand to other areas such as innovation and high technology,” Israeli ambassador Peleg Lewi told La Nacion.

Paraguay exports $190 million to Israel annually in soy, beef, charcoal and other products, according to official data from 2015. Currently, 40 per cent of the meat consumed in Israel is Paraguayan. Israel is considered a premium market, since it is one of the highest paying markets for Paraguayan beef.

Last month, Israel delivered drip irrigation systems to Paraguayan small farmers as a result of technical collaboration process with local cooperatives.

In March, Cartes was awarded the Shalom Prize by the World Jewish Congress for “contributions to building coexistence.”

In January, Israel donated food and assistance kits to help Paraguayans displaced by massive flooding in the region, the worst in half a century.

The Israeli embassy in Asuncion was reopened last year after the closure in 2002 along with 15 other diplomatic missions around the world, due to budgetary constraints. Paraguay is home to about 1,000 Jews in a population of nearly 6.7 million people.

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