Danon leads first Israel-Bolivia meeting after renewed ties

Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon met with his new Bolivian counterpart Ruben Suarez in New York on Friday.

Israeli delegation to the UN (photo credit: Courtesy)
Israeli delegation to the UN
(photo credit: Courtesy)
The first official meeting between Israeli and Bolivian representatives since the countries renewed diplomatic ties took place over the weekend.
Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon met with his new Bolivian counterpart Ruben Suarez in New York on Friday.
Israel and Bolivia renewed diplomatic relations after over a decade in late November, as a pro-American transitional government came into power in La Paz. Former leftist Bolivian president Evo Morales broke off ties between the countries in 2009, following Operation Protective Edge. Foreign Minister Yisrael Katz credited Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro with helping broker the move.
An Israeli delegation including Israeli Ambassador to Peru Asaf Ichilevich and representatives of MASHAV, the Foreign Ministry's international development arm, plan to visit Bolivia on Monday.
“Israel is returning to Bolivia and Bolivia is returning to Israel,” Danon said. “Renewed relations between the countries is a blessing for both nations.”
The ambassador added that many areas of cooperation are already being planned, together with “true friendship that will strengthen Israel’s status in South America.”
Danon and Suarez discussed the possibility of opening a Bolivian embassy to Israel, promoting cooperation between the countries on water and agricultural technology and the return of Israeli tourists to the South American country.
Bolivia was once a popular destination for Israeli backpackers, and the country's Foreign Minister Karen Longaric said in November Morales did not take into consideration the economic consequences from the loss of tourism after he cut ties with Israel.
Suarez said that the loss of Israeli tourism led to a reduction in tourism from around the world.
Danon recounted hiking in Bolivia after he finished his IDF service and said that he received a warm welcome there at the time.
He also invited Suarez to join a delegation of UN ambassadors set to visit Israel in April.
Suarez’s predecessor as ambassador to the UN, Sacha Llorenti, was hostile to Israel and worked with the Arab bloc to pass resolutions against Israel. He also invited the leadership of B’Tselem, which documents alleged human rights abuses by Israel in the West Bank, to testify before the UN Security Council.