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Uruguay to open diplomatic office in Jerusalem

The new office will work to promote cooperation in the field of innovation, according to the Israeli Foreign Ministry.

Israeli Foreign MInister Eli Cohen (left) and his Uruguayan counterpart Francisco Bustillo meet in Montevideo, Aug. 16, 2023. Credit: Israeli Foreign Ministry.
Israeli Foreign MInister Eli Cohen (left) and his Uruguayan counterpart Francisco Bustillo meet in Montevideo, Aug. 16, 2023. Credit: Israeli Foreign Ministry.

Uruguay will open a diplomatic office for innovation in Jerusalem, Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced on Wednesday.

The news comes a day after the ministry confirmed that Paraguay would return its embassy to Jerusalem by the end of year, and is the latest sign of the growing ties between Israel and Latin America.

“Uruguay is one of Israel’s important friends in Latin America, and the president’s decision to open an innovation office in Jerusalem will advance the ties between our two countries ,” said Foreign Minister Eli Cohen.

Israel’s top diplomat met with President of Uruguay Luis Lacalle Pou and his Uruguayan counterpart Francisco Bustillo in the Uruguayan capital of Montevideo on Wednesday, the first such visit by an Israeli foreign minister to the Latin American country in the last four decades.

Cohen invited the Uruguayan president to Jerusalem to inaugurate the new office, which will work to promote cooperation in the field of innovation, according to the ministry. The office is slated to open soon. 

During his meetings in Uruguay, the Israeli foreign minister discussed Iranian encroachment in Latin America and the need to prevent the Islamic Republic from obtaining nuclear weapons. 

He also raised the issue of increasing the limitations on meat imports from Uruguay, as a way to reduce the high cost of living in Israel.

Cohen was in the region for this week’s inauguration of the Paraguayan President Santiago Pena.

Historic ties

Uruguay has a long history of friendship with Israel, dating back to its role in support of the establishment of the Jewish State at the United Nations in 1947.

During the 1970s Uruguay had an embassy in Jerusalem, but in 1980 moved it out of the capital to the Tel Aviv suburb of Herzliya on the heels of a similar move at the time by Venezuela, citing “concern for the special situation of the holy city for the three great religions.”

Four countries currently have their embassies in Israel’s capital: the United States, Guatemala, Honduras and Kosovo.

With Paraguay set to move its embassy back to Jerusalem, more than half of the embassies in the city will soon be from Latin America.

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