Panama’s Martinelli Visits Israel

Above: Panama President Ricardo Martinelli with Israeli President Shimon Peres

By the Caribbean Journal staff

Panama President Ricardo Martinelli continued his tour abroad on Thursday with a visit to Israel.

Martinelli, who will leave office in July, held a bilateral meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Bejamin Netanyahu to discuss “the situation in Latin America and peace in the [Middle East],” according to a presidential statement.

“We want to highlight the commitment of this administration to always support Israel,” Netanyahu told Martinelli.

During the official visit to the country, Martinelli also met with Israeli President Shimon Peres, saying he was “convinced that the relations between the two countries will continue to develop.”

Martinelli also said the two countries were in the process of signing a free trade agreement that could be ready within a few months.

“For us, Panama is not a point on a map, it is a place in our hearts, because we have a great friendship with Panama,” Peres said. “We appreciate the love and support given to our country by this administration.”

The two sides also discussed the possibility that Israeli airline El Al could explore direct flights between Tel Aviv and Panama.