PM Netanyahu Meets with Paraguayan President Horacio Cartes
(Communicated by the Prime Minister's Media Adviser)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, this afternoon (Tuesday, 19 July 2016), met with Paraguayan President Horacio Cartes. They held a private meeting and signed a joint declaration summarizing President Cartes' visit to Israel as well as bilateral agreements on cooperation in time of emergency, cooperation on legal matters, cooperation on education, the Holocaust and culture, and an MOU on technical development assistance for Paraguay. The two leaders then held an expanded meeting with the Paraguayan delegation which included the ministers of Foreign Affairs, Agriculture, Trade and Industry, and Education and Culture, as well as other senior officials.
Prime Minister Netanyahu and Paraguayan President Cartes discussed cooperation on a range of issues including security, agriculture, water and education. It was agreed that Israel would send a delegation to Paraguay to boost agricultural output, and that Paraguay would send a delegation to Israel regarding electronic learning.
Prime Minister Netanyahu:
"President Cartes Horacio, bienvenidos, it's my pleasure to welcome you and your entire delegation to Israel on this historic visit, the first visit of a President of Paraguay to Israel. It reflects something very deep. We were just talking about that. Not only the growing partnership between our two countries but also your personal friendship for the State of Israel and also some deeper roots of, some parallels, in our history: Small countries surrounded by a lot of big countries, not always on the friendliest terms.; The hope of securing prosperous, secure future in our region. And I want to stress also the fact that you have taken a position, a very forthright and courageous position to defend the truth, and defend the truth about the State of Israel in difficult circumstances and friends are tested in difficult times. And you are a great friend. We appreciate you and welcome you, welcome friend.
In Israel we don't take our friends for granted. On the contrary, we are committed to working with them to make us all stronger, safer and more prosperous. We are already working towards those goals and today we are going to sign several agreements to advance our cooperation. We are working together in development, in water management, in agriculture, but I think the opportunities are endless, truly limitless. And I look forward to intensifying that cooperation. We are going to sign agreements in science, in culture, in youth exchanges, in emergency management. If we work together, we can make the future of our people, our citizens a better one. We are also interested, as I have spoken to you just now, about expanding our relationship with the countries of Latin America. You have been an anchor of friendship there. And we are eager to discuss with you the possibilities of increasing our cooperation with all the countries of Latin America which we think is a continent that has a great future. So we want to develop the future of our relations and through you, and with your help, the future of a broader relationship between Israel and the region, and the countries and the peoples of Latin America.
Welcome to Jerusalem. Welcome friend."
Prime Minister Netanyahu added: "May I reveal to the members of the press that there is a big map in my office, and it's been made bigger. It used to be the Middle East. Now it encompasses a good chunk of the Eastern hemisphere and President Cartes said to me, 'It's not big enough, you should include Latin America. There's a piece of Israel there.'"
Paraguayan President Cartes:
"In my name, and the delegation's name I want to say, thank you very much. Of course that we receive long time ago cooperation and of course we are very thankful that you are very warm – the cooperation, the support that we receive is really really warm. As we were talking before, it's good to remind that in 1947 when Paraguay gave you the vote, to Israel become a state in May 14 of 1948, and that as I was telling you is coincidence with the independence of our country Paraguay that is May 14 too but in 1811.
You had, nobody wants to remember, but I think the good thing that you do is that you keep in mind the Holocaust that you had, and Paraguay had his Holocaust. We lost practically all our population in a war that was called the Triple Alliance that was with our neighbor. But I don’t want to be the country to be remembered because of the vote, because we had the Holocaust. I want to be our countries much closer because we share principles and values, Prime Minister.
I'm so happy. I'm really shocked with the visit. They call it historical visit because it's the first time that comes a president, but I think that we have to be ashamed that we have so close, friendly, that it's the first visit. So we got two things: We look backward and we cry because we lost a lot of time or we look forward and we catch up the time.
Thank you very much and in the name of my country, of all the population I want you to know Israel is in the heart of all Paraguay. We like you very much."
From the joint declaration:
"Both leaders expressed their satisfaction with the excellent bilateral friendly relations, reinforced dialogue and high-level visits between the two countries. They also stressed the importance of improving bilateral economic relations and cooperation in various areas of mutual interest.
In order to reaffirm the excellent relations and friendship between the two countries and promote cooperation, the leaders declare as follows:
1. President Cartes highlighted the role of MASHAV, Israel's Agency for international Development Cooperation, in aiding the development of assistance programs and technical capacity for the Paraguay institutions responsible for International Cooperation, acknowledged the support received from the State of Israel and expressed his desire to strengthen this relationship. Prime Minister Netanyahu noted that Israel's intention is to continue strengthening this cooperation, and to this effect a Declaration of Intent, which highlights the main areas of cooperation, will be signed.
2. Prime Minister Netanyahu noted the Israeli trade and economic interest in Paraguay. President Cartes highlighted the opportunities offered by Paraguay, such as the advantages in the cost of production, monetary and legal stability, as well as its strategic geographical location, which is a platform for MERCOSUR and the world. Both leaders instructed their respective ministers and institutions to expand economic ties, trade relations, investments and cooperation between the two countries.
3. Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Cartes exchanged views on the main issues in the international agenda, especially on the developments in the Middle East and in South America, and agreed to continue the coordination between the two countries on these issues, reaffirming the importance of basic values, such as democracy, human rights and the rule of law and emphasizing the importance of peaceful resolution of conflicts, in accordance with International law.
4. Both leaders expressed satisfaction regarding the ongoing political dialogues between the Foreign Ministries of the two countries, which has been taking place since 2015.
5. President Cartes explained that the geographical location of the Republic of Paraguay will allow it to become an important center for interconnection with the countries of the region, through the development of infrastructure and regional logistics. Prime Minister Netanyahu expressed support for the recognition of the special needs of Paraguay as a landlocked developing country. President Cartes expressed his willingness to coordinate in the International Fora a balanced position with respect to issues concerning the State of Israel.
6. Both leaders expressed the desire to promote bilateral legal cooperation and exchange of knowledge and experiences between the two countries, and welcomed the signing of the Joint Declaration of Intent on Cooperation in the field of Legal Matters between the Ministry of Justice of the State of Israel and the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Paraguay.
7. The leaders welcomed the signing of the Joint Declaration of Intent on Emergency Cooperation Management, and noted with satisfaction the signing of the Program of Cooperation in the Fields of Education, Science, Culture, Youth and Sports for the Years 2016 -2018.
8. President Cartes and Prime Minister Netanyahu reaffirmed the importance of working together on global challenges, such as the issues discussed in the context of the United Nations, including the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, human rights, environment and climate change, and the importance and role of the United Nations for preserving peace and international security. Both countries will continue their close dialogue in various UN fora.
9. Both Israel and Paraguay encourage the use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, especially in the field of radiological applications for medical and agricultural purposes. Both leaders encourage cooperation between the relevant authorities from both countries.
10. President Cartes, on behalf of the Government and people of the Republic of Paraguay expressed his deep appreciation for the warm welcome and privileged attention offered by the Government and people of the State of Israel, both to him and his delegation during the visit."
Attached photo credit: Kobi Gideon (GPO)