Israeli PM calls for formal ties with Indonesia

Jerusalem, March 29 (IANS) Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said it was time to establish official relations between Indonesia and Israel.

“I have a few Indonesian friends on Facebook,” he told a group of Indonesian journalists, who arrived in Israel as guests of Foreign Affairs Ministry on Monday.

“The time has come for official bilateral relations,” Xinhua quoted Netanyahu as saying. “We have many opportunities to cooperate in the fields of water and technology.”

He said that the relations with Indonesia “must also change” after mentioning Israel’s deepening ties with Africa, Latin America and Russia.

“The factors preventing official ties are no longer relevant and I hope that your visit will help with this,” the Prime Minister said to the visitors.

Israel and Indonesia have no diplomatic relations but established trade and tourism ties.

In 2013, current Education Minister, then Economy Minister, Naftali Bennett visited Bali in Indonesia to attend a meeting of the World Trade Organisation.

Meanwhile, ties between Indonesia and the Palestinian National Authority have been strengthening, setting the stage for a diplomatic incident two weeks ago.

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