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Nicaragua and Israel to reestablish diplomatic relations

March 29, 2017

Nicaragua and Israel will reestablish diplomatic relations after they were suspended in 2010. Nicaragua has been closely aligned with Iran and usually votes against Israel in diplomatic forums such as the UN.

Israel Premierminister Benjamin Netanjahu
Image: picture-alliance/AP Photo/A. Cohen

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (above) said on Tuesday that "one country" would announce the renewal of diplomatic ties with Israel next week. It was later reported he was referring to Nicaragua.

"The two governments place great importance on the renewal of relations with the aim of promoting joint activity for the welfare of both peoples and to contribute to the fight for peace in the world," Nicaragua's Foreign Ministry later said in a statement.

Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega severed diplomatic ties in 2010, in protest over an incident, in which violent pro-Palestinian activists and IDF troops clashed fatally aboard the Gaza-bound Mavi Marmara ship in the Mediterranean Sea.

In 2012, Ortega - a Cold War opponent of the US - urged Israel to destroy its nuclear weapons as he hosted then-Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Managua.

Nicaraguan president Daniel Ortega.
Nicaraguan president Daniel Ortega.Image: Picture-Alliance/dpa/R. Pujol/EFE

"Today, we're blessed to have relations with over 160 countries and the number continues to grow," Netanyahu said at the president's residence in Jerusalem, "The Times of Israel" newspaper reported.

"Last year, I visited five continents, not including Latin America, [but] including the leading powers of the world: the US, Russia, China, and of course other countries — Britain, Australia, African countries, Muslim countries [such as] Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan," Netanyahu said.

"All of this symbolizes the dramatic change in our international standing," Netanyahu said.

The exact number of countries Israel has diplomatic relations with is actually 159. The last country to renew ties with Israel, in July 2016, was Guinea, a Muslim-majority nation in West Africa.

The expected announcement is not the first time the two countries reestablish ties that had been severed. Relations between Jerusalem and Managua were first cut in 1982 after Israel's invasion of Lebanon, and re-established 10 years later

jbh/bw (Reuters. EFE)