Deputy Foreign Minister Tzachi Hanegbi..
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Regional Cooperation Minister Tzachi Hanegbi met in Yerevan on Wednesday with Armenian Prime Minister Karen Karapetyan, the first visit of a senior Israeli minister to that country since then-agriculture minister Orit Noked visited in 2012.
Hanegbi, who is frequently dispatched on trips abroad by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, told Karapetyan, “After years without a ministerial visit to Armenia, I came here as an emissary of the prime minister to give expression to the strong friendship between our countries.
We will continue to work actively to promote economic cooperation between us.”
The trip is part of Netanyahu’s overall efforts to improve relations and enhance cooperation with countries that Israel has not focused on in the past, according to officials in Jerusalem. Hanegbi’s visit concentrated on cooperation in the areas of tourism, agriculture, transportation and water.
Six members of the Israel-Armenian Chamber of Commerce also took part in the visit as part of the efforts to find ways of increasing economic cooperation.
In addition to meeting Karapetyan, Hanegbi met with Armenia’s agriculture, transportation and communications ministers.
He is scheduled to visit Yerevan’s synagogue on Thursday and meet with representatives of the country’s tiny, but ancient, Jewish community.
Jerusalem is confident it will be able to maintain good relations with Armenia, even as it enjoys a strong strategic relationship with Azerbaijan, Armenia’s historic enemy and neighbor to the east.
While in Yerevan, Hangebi will mark 25 years since the establishment of diplomatic ties between the two countries. Israel is served in Armenia by a nonresident ambassador based in Jerusalem.