Foreign Minister of Costa Rica Visits Israel to Strengthen Historic Relationship

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 On Tuesday evening, May 16th, H.E Mr. Manuel Gonzalez Sanz, Foreign Minister of Costa Rica, arrived in Israel for a 3 day visit focused on strengthening the already deep bilateral relations between Costa Rica and Israel. As part of the trip, the Embassy of Costa Rica hosted a special reception on Tuesday evening in Tel Aviv. On Wednesday Mr. Gonzalez Sanz had a private audience with the President of Israel, Reuven Rivlin. On Thursday the Foreign Minister is expected to visit Yad Vashem, where he will participate in a special memorial ceremony. On Thursday Mr. Gonzalez was also expected to meet with Israeli diplomats at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Jerusalem.

At the press conference prior to Tuesday evening’s reception, Mr. Gonzalez mentioned the already strong ties between the Costa Rica and Israel, and the will to advance those ties represented by his first trip to Israel as Foreign Minister. When asked about the location of the embassy, in light of recent discussions involving a potential US Embassy move to Jerusalem, Minister Gonzalez stressed that, although symbolic, the location of the embassy would not impact its role or function, which is to advance bilateral relations regardless of the city in which it’s located. In response to an incisive question about how well Costa Rica’s model as a demilitarized country could prove as a blueprint for a Palestinian state, the Foreign Minister said that although demilitarization has proved successful for Costa Rica, he did not expect it to necessarily work for every country, or situation. Regardless, he emphasized, the goal should be to strive for peace, and Costa Rica would certainly be happy to share its expertise and experience with countries which are interested.

Ambassador Esteban Penrod Padilla opened the evening by noting that it signified the importance of the Israel-Costa Rica relationship. Ambassador Padilla highlighted Costa Rica’s numerous achievements in industrial production, services and innovation, and the appeal that this has created for international investors and multinational corporations. The Ambassador cited Costa Rican developments in medical technology, aerospace, and renewable energy. He also mentioned the important role that Israeli entrepreneurs have played thus far in Costa Rica’s development, and the similarities between both countries as innovation hubs for foreign investment, and called for increased commercial ties going forward.

 

 

Ambassador Penrod then called up the Allalouf family, who have served as Costa Rica’s Honorary Consul to Israel for three successive generations, to receive a special gift on behalf of the Government of Costa Rica. Honorary Consul Nathan Allalouf spoke on behalf of his family. Consul Allalouf mentioned the duration and intensity of the relationship between the countries, which he said Israel’s former President Shimon Peres had once described as a “love story.” Mr. Allalouf explained how this historical relationship was intertwined with his own heritage, with his father and grandfather both having served as Honorary Consuls.

Speaking on behalf of the Israeli Government, Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipy Hotovely recalled the diplomatic efforts of Padre Benjamin Nuñez of Costa Rica to ratchet up support for a Jewish state, efforts which paid off with the 1947 United Nations vote which enabled the creation of the modern state of Israel. Hotoveli also looked to a brighter future involving Costa Rican and Israeli cooperation. The Deputy Minister mentioned her hope to advance free trade arrangements, and to arranging an Israeli delegation visit to Costa Rica in the future.

As the keynote speaker, Minister Gonzalez elaborated upon his position regarding the role of the governments of Costa Rica and Israel in improving future cooperation and investments. He said that the private sector should be allowed to determine the scope, gamut and direction of bilateral cooperation. The job of the respective governments, said Minister Gonzalez, was to establish a situation of trust, peace and stability which is conducive to that private sector cooperation and innovation. In closing, the Foreign Minister expressed his hope for increased success between the two nations, and urged his audience to see Costa Rica with their own eyes as part of a long-term plan to amplify future joint commercial efforts.

Steven Aiello, founder of the Debate for Peace MUN program (debateforpeace.wordpress.com).
On Tuesday evening, May 17th, H.E Mr. Manuel Gonzalez Sanz, Foreign Minister of Costa Rica, arrived in Israel for a 3 day visit focused on strengthening the already deep bilateral relations between Costa Rica and Israel. As part of the trip, the Embassy of Costa Rica hosted a special reception on Tuesday evening in Tel Aviv. On Wednesday Mr. Gonzalez Sanz had a private audience with the President of Israel, Reuven Rivlin. On Thursday the Foreign Minister is expected to visit Yad Vashem, where he will participate in a special memorial ceremony. On Thursday Mr. Gonzalez was also expected to meet with Israeli diplomats at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Jerusalem.

At the press conference prior to Tuesday evening’s reception, Mr. Gonzalez mentioned the already strong ties between the Costa Rica and Israel, and the will to advance those ties represented by his first trip to Israel as Foreign Minister. When asked about the location of the embassy, in light of recent discussions involving a potential US Embassy move to Jerusalem, Minister Gonzalez stressed that, although symbolic, the location of the embassy would not impact its role or function, which is to advance bilateral relations regardless of the city in which it’s located. In response to an incisive question about how well Costa Rica’s model as a demilitarized country could prove as a blueprint for a Palestinian state, the Foreign Minister said that although demilitarization has proved successful for Costa Rica, he did not expect it to necessarily work for every country, or situation. Regardless, he emphasized, the goal should be to strive for peace, and Costa Rica would certainly be happy to share its expertise and experience with countries which are interested.

Ambassador Esteban Penrod Padilla opened the evening by noting that it signified the importance of the Israel-Costa Rica relationship. Ambassador Padilla highlighted Costa Rica’s numerous achievements in industrial production, services and innovation, and the appeal that this has created for international investors and multinational corporations. The Ambassador cited Costa Rican developments in medical technology, aerospace, and renewable energy. He also mentioned the important role that Israeli entrepreneurs have played thus far in Costa Rica’s development, and the similarities between both countries as innovation hubs for foreign investment, and called for increased commercial ties going forward.

Ambassador Penrod then called up the Allalouf family, who have served as Costa Rica’s Honorary Consul to Israel for three successive generations, to receive a special gift on behalf of the Government of Costa Rica. Honorary Consul Nathan Allalouf spoke on behalf of his family. Consul Allalouf mentioned the duration and intensity of the relationship between the countries, which he said Israel’s former President Shimon Peres had once described as a “love story.” Mr. Allalouf explained how this historical relationship was intertwined with his own heritage, with his father and grandfather both having served as Honorary Consuls.

Speaking on behalf of the Israeli Government, Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipy Hotovely recalled the diplomatic efforts of Padre Benjamin Nuñez of Costa Rica to ratchet up support for a Jewish state, efforts which paid off with the 1947 United Nations vote which enabled the creation of the modern state of Israel. Hotoveli also looked to a brighter future involving Costa Rican and Israeli cooperation. The Deputy Minister mentioned her hope to advance free trade arrangements, and to arranging an Israeli delegation visit to Costa Rica in the future.

As the keynote speaker, Minister Gonzalez elaborated upon his position regarding the role of the governments of Costa Rica and Israel in improving future cooperation and investments. He said that the private sector should be allowed to determine the scope, gamut and direction of bilateral cooperation. The job of the respective governments, said Minister Gonzalez, was to establish a situation of trust, peace and stability which is conducive to that private sector cooperation and innovation. In closing, the Foreign Minister expressed his hope for increased success between the two nations, and urged his audience to see Costa Rica with their own eyes as part of a long-term plan to amplify future joint commercial efforts.

 

Steven Aiello, founder of the Debate for Peace MUN program (debateforpeace.wordpress.com).

Photos by Silvia G Golan