IDF aid delegation in Port-au-Prince.
(photo credit: IDF Spokesperson)
Israel and Germany signed an agreement Monday, within the framework of a joint cabinet session in Berlin, to cooperate in providing aid to developing countries - an agreement expected to give Israeli humanitarian efforts reach into some countries with which Israel does not have relations.
Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon and German Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development Dirk Niebel signed a memorandum of agreement for cooperating in the Middle East, Africa and Central Asia, with an emphasis on water, agriculture and health.
After the signing ceremony, Ayalon said that "the agreement represents the depth of the relationship between the two countries and the willingness to cooperate around the world for the benefit of developing countries. [Against] the background of our unique common history, this is a clear and moral message to the peoples of both countries and to the entire world. This agreement will improve the relationship of our two countries."
The agreement is also part of an effort by the Foreign Ministry to increase humanitarian aid. Israel is currently in the final phases of gaining entry into the OECD, which has a benchmark level of how much humanitarian assistance needs to be provided by each member country, and Israel is in the process of trying to reach that level, diplomatic officials said Monday.
In a related development, OECD Secretary-General Angel Guira is scheduled to arrive in the country Tuesday for a two-day visit that will include meetings with the country's top political and economic echelon prior to the decision, expected in a few months, on whether Israel will be accepted into the organization.
According to a statement put out by the Foreign Ministry, in May 2007 the Council of the OECD, which numbers 30 member states, initiated a process of coopting Israel, Chile, Russia, Estonia and Slovenia into the organization.
At the beginning of 2008, the organization submitted to Israel a road map for admission, which made it incumbent on the country to pass legislation, enact reforms and meet the organization's standards. This process is scheduled to be completed by the first quarter of 2010.
The Foreign Ministry statement said that joining the OECD, which counts the major players in the global economy as its members, will open up numerous possibilities for Israel, including assistance in encouraging investments and upgrading the country's credit rating.