Naming of Colombia envoy means Reuben may stay at UN

Foreign Ministry official says filling of Reuben's position in Bogata may be hint that he will permanently remain United Nations envoy.

December 20, 2010 02:25
1 minute read.
Israeli Ambassador to the UN Meron Reuben

Israeli Ambassador to the UN Meron Reuben 311. (photo credit: Shahar Azran)


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In a move some see as a sign that Israel’s temporary envoy to the UN Meron Reuben may soon become the permanent ambassador there, the Foreign Ministry announced Sunday the appointment of a new ambassador to Colombia, a position Reuben still holds while serving as acting UN envoy.

One Foreign Ministry official said the appointment of Yoed Magen as Israel’s next ambassador to Bogota could be seen as a hint that Reuben will remain permanently at the UN.

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In July, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who could not come to an agreement with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu about whom to send to the UN to replace Gabriela Shalev, plucked Reuben out of Bogota and named him interim UN ambassador.

Appointing Reuben in an interim capacity meant he did not need Netanyahu’s approval for the appointment. An interim appointment does not need cabinet approval, either, and thus Reuben has been at the UN since August, when Shalev’s term expired.

Reuben, who did not want to give up the Colombia position in case the UN post lasted only a couple of months, remained Israel’s ambassador to Colombia.

In late October there was talk of sending Environmental Protection Minister Gilad Erdan to the UN, but that idea has not picked up traction.

Sources close to both Netanyahu and Lieberman said Sunday that they know of no new development regarding the UN post.

One Foreign Ministry official, however, said it was important to have a permanent envoy at this time in Colombia, considered Israel’s closest friend in South America. In recent weeks Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, and most recently Bolivia have either recognized a Palestinian state inside the 1967 lines, or said they will do so in the near future.

In addition to announcing Magen’s appointment, the Foreign Ministry also announced on Sunday the appointment of Ya’acov Hadas-Handlesman, currently the ministry’s deputy director-general for its Middle East and Peace Process Division, as envoy to the EU and NATO in Brussels; Gil Haskel as ambassador to Kenya; and Hagit Ben-Yaakov as ambassador to Latvia.

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