Flush with an increase in its budget, the Foreign Ministry has announced the opening of a new embassy in Turkmenistan, the reopening of the embassy in New Zealand, and the reopening of the consulate in Sao Paulo. The embassy in Wellington, New Zealand, and the consulate in Sao Paulo were closed in 2002 because of budgetary considerations. According to a statement issued by the ministry, New Zealand is an important actor on the international stage, especially in the UN system. The reopening of the embassy there will enhance diplomatic, economic and cultural cooperation between the two countries. There are some 6,000 Jews in the country. The decision to reopen the consulate in Sao Paulo is an "additional step" in developing closer ties with Brazil. According to the statement, business ties between the two countries are flourishing, with some $1.5 billion in annual trade, and the recent inauguration by El Al Israel Airways of direct flights to the city. Sao Paulo is home to some 80,000 Jews. The ministry announced on Wednesday that it would open a new embassy in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, saying it was a natural step in burgeoning bilateral ties, and reflected a new momentum in Israel's overall ties with the Central Asian countries. Israel and Turkmenistan established ties in 1993, and Israel has been training Turkmen experts, especially in the fields of agriculture and public health. Until now Israel was represented in Turkmenistan, which borders Iran, Afghanistan, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, by a nonresident ambassador stationed in Jerusalem.