|By PR Newswire||
|February 18, 2014 06:00 AM EST||
NEW YORK, Feb. 18, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- AJC lauded Peruvian President Ollanta Humala's visit to Israel this week.
"Peru has raised the bar for South American relations with Israel," said Dina Siegel Vann, director of AJC's Latino and Latin American Institute (LLAI).
"We remember that Peru supported Israel's bid for statehood in 1947," Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared, after meeting with Humala in Jerusalem. "This is a relationship with roots, and I believe it will have big branches in coming years."
"Peru wants to cooperate with Israel and become its most significant Latin American partner," Humala said.
He said the visit was "important" for him and his delegation, and that it was a "great honor" to represent his country as a "friend of Israel." The Peruvian leader spoke warmly about increasing economic and political cooperation with Israel.
During his meeting with President Peres, Humala recognized "that Israel is currently going through a difficult period, and we are great supporters of the peace process."
Fred Reich, a leader in Peru's Jewish community and member of the Board of AJC's Latino and Latin American Institute, accompanied Humala to Israel. The delegation included members of Humala's Cabinet, Peru's business community and Peruvian Jewish representatives.
"Peru has long viewed Israel as a strategic partner in the country's economic development," AJC's Siegel Vann, who has visited Lima on several occasions, added. "It has benefited from the Jewish state's agricultural and security technology, and has received assistance in other areas as well. Israeli companies have invested more than one billion dollars in Peru, primarily in the fields of agriculture, medicine, energy and telecommunications."
Humala's visit came just days after Israel was invited to be an observer to the Alliance of the Pacific. The Alliance is a Latin American regional group trade bloc comprising Mexico, Colombia, Peru, Chile and Costa Rica. Israel is the first Middle Eastern country to become an observer.
SOURCE American Jewish Committee