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September 17, 2017 11:52 am

In Historic Meeting, Netanyahu, Mexico’s President Agree to Bolster Relations

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto in Mexico City, Sept. 14. Photo: Avi Ohayon/GPO. – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto in Mexico City on Thursday as the two countries agreed to deepen relations on a number of fronts.

“This is a milestone,” Netanyahu said a joint press conference with Peña Nieto, noting the first-ever visit by an Israeli prime minister to the country. “I would say it’s an unpardonable lapse, but we want a pardon. We’re here,” Netanyahu continued.

“We think we correct now a historic lapse, because Mexico is a great country. It’s one of the world’s great economies. It’s great nation, a great people, a great culture. We want to be close, even closer, to Mexico. And this is what this meeting signifies.”

Peña Nieto said the two countries agreed to update their free trade agreement, which was originally signed in 2000. Since then, Mexico has become Israel’s second largest trading partner in Latin America after Brazil.

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The Mexican leader added that Israel and his country also agreed to bolster cooperation on cyber security as well as in other areas of cooperation including “water, entrepreneurship and agriculture.”

Earlier this week Israel announced it would provide humanitarian aid and assistance to Mexico following an 8.2-magnitude earthquake — the strongest to hit Mexico in a century.

Netanyahu also met with 16 local business leaders in Mexico City to gain investment and attended an economic event with the Mexican Economy Secretary ldefonso Guajardo Villarreal, an Israeli business delegation and Mexican businesspeople.

Mexico was the last stop on Netanyahu’s historic Latin America tour. The Israeli leader went to New York on Friday and was scheduled to meet with President Donald Trump on Monday and deliver a speech to the UN General Assembly the following day.

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