Deputy FM to Honduras Next Week

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JERUSALEM, Israel - Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon will travel to Honduras next week to attend a meeting of the Organization of American States.

In addition to Israel's economic and political ties with South American countries, the government wants to raise international awareness of Iran and Hezbollah's activities in South America.

Speaking with Jerusalem Post correspondent Herb Keinon, Ayalon noted that the 1994 bombings of the Israeli embassy and Jewish community center in Buenos Aires were likely the work of Hezbollah "sleeper cells."

In a document published by YNet on Monday, the Foreign Ministry said that Iran and Hezbollah are focusing increasing attention on South American and African countries.

The report noted that in 1982, with Cuba's help, Iran began establishing ties with South American countries, eventually establishing embassies in Columbia, Argentina, Brazil, Venezuela, Chile, Uruguay and Mexico, which opened the door for trade that continues to this day.

According to the Foreign Ministry report, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is not only helping the Islamic Republic circumvent economic sanctions by the UN Security Council, he is also providing uranium, along with Bolivia, to Iran.

Chavez is helping Iran establish stronger ties with the anti-American bloc, which includes Venezuela, Bolivia, Nicaragua and Ecuador, according to the Foreign Ministry report.

Iran recently opened embassies in Nicaragua and Bolivia, which cut diplomatic ties with Israel, along with Venezuela, following the three-week military operation in the Gaza Strip in January.

The Netanyahu government hopes to reinstate Israeli interaction with Latin America and Africa.

"In the last few years, the foreign minister was mortgaged to the peace process and the classic activities of the ministry - building relations with countries in South America and Africa - were abandoned," a senior government official said.

Source: The Jerusalem Post

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