Israel, Colombia Announce Agreements on Netanyahu’s Historic Latin America Trip

“Can two walk together Without having met?” Amos 3:3 (The Israel Bible™)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos announced a series of agreements Thursday, including memoranda of understanding and collaboration agreements in the fields of agriculture and water technologies, innovation and cybersecurity.

The agreements were announced during a meeting between the two leaders at the Casa de Nariño presidential palace in Bogota, where they were joined by the Colombian foreign, defense and agriculture ministers.

The leaders also discussed agreed that a Colombian delegation from the cyber field will come to Israel for a training program, but no date for the visit was announced.

Following the meeting, Prime Minister Netanyahu told reporters that Israel supports Colombia’s bid to join the OECD.

“We think that Latin America, as a whole, has tremendous potential, and we believe that the world is now at the juncture of a great change. The world economy will never be the same again. Everything is becoming technologized, everything. Areas that were deemed as low technology are becoming suffused with technology, which changes productivity, which changes the benefits given people in ways that were unimaginable just a few years ago,” said Netanyahu.

The prime minister also said that as an observer state to the Pacific Alliance, a trade bloc that includes Colombia, Mexico, Peru and Chile, Israel intends to deepen economic cooperation with this market.

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Colombian President Santos thanked Israel, especially for help in defusing landmines left over from the five decade conflict with the Marxist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) group.

“Israel has been a great ally in the construction of peace in our country. You have offered help to us in several areas, including the removal of anti-personnel mines,” Santos said, referring to a September 2016 Colombian delegation to Israel to train with the Defense Ministry’s National Mine Action Authority in Tel Aviv and other areas of the country.

The number of landmine victims in Colombia is among the highest in the world, second only to Afghanistan: From 1990-2015, over 11,400 people were killed or injured by mines.

Netanyahu also announced that two agreements were signed between the countries: a Memorandum of Understanding in the field of science and an agreement to promote bilateral tourism between Israel and Colombia, especially organized tourism.

Thursday, Netanyahu will travel to Mexico for the final leg of his Latin American tour  before continuing on to New York to address the United Nations General Assembly on September 19. He  will also meet with US President Donald Trump on the sidelines of the Assembly before returning to Israel ahead of Rosh Hashana (Jewish New Year), which begins on the night of September 20.