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Newspaper Clarín
Buenos Aires,  May10, 2005 – Page 8 - Section The Country


Argentina will have an embassy in Ramallah. (view)

The Summit of Arab Countries and South America will have more salt and pepper with the meeting that will hold the next hours, in some place of Brasilia, Néstor Kirchner and the President of Palestine, Mahmoud Abbas, or Abu Mazen, his ancient war name.

As it confirmed last night the ambassador of Palestine to Argentina, Suhail Akel, the meeting will have an announcement as dessert: Kirchner will express Mazen the Government’s desire to open an embassy in the Palestinian territory soon, which would have seat in Ramallah.

IIn fact, as it could know Clarín through high sources of the Chancellery, the decision is made since there is a confidential file on the opening of the mentioned seat. Even though the same sources refused to confirm when Kirchner would make the announcement.

Diplomatic comments that transcended, indicated that the embassy already has a foreseen a chief, which would be an official of career of the Chancellery. But Akel did not want to speak about that neither specifying the time and the place where Kirchner and Mazen will meet, today or tomorrow.

Not only the meeting with the President of the Palestinian National Authority but also the opening of the embassy in Ramallah have a high political content, which can cause some reaction of Israel. By the way, days before the summit of Brasilia, the Israeli vice-chancellor Ehud Olmert said to Clarín that he hoped that Argentina and Brazil will avoid "the traditional anti-Israeli rhetoric", similar statements to those he made in March, in his visit to Buenos Aires.

The Government speculates with a balance element: the announcement that Kirchner will have his wife, Cristina, landing on Friday in Israel where she will receive a distinction of the University of Jerusalem and meet with officials of that country.

The aim of the invitation is not less important: her performance as senator in the parliamentarian commission of pursuit of the investigations on the attacks against the embassy of Israel and the AMIA. This act, the government believes, "will compensate the Israeli spirit" at the time of the announcement on the diplomat seat in Ramallah. They do not let it overlook the gesture of the chancellor Rafael Bielsa who attended in January to the elections that raised to Abu Mazen, but he also visited Israel at that time.

The Argentinean seat will be the third one of Latin America in Palestine, which since 1948, as the UN established, fights to have an own State in the territories occupied by Israel.

As Akel said, Chile, with a collectivity of 350,000 Palestinians, was the first country of the region to open an embassy there. Brazil, with 60,000 Palestinians did it recently. And some 30 foreign delegations are already accredited in front of the Palestinian National Authority.

Argentina, on the other side, harbors a small community, of dozens of families. It is for that reason that the opening of an embassy has a strong political content.

It also weighs in the Government, the decision of increasing the relations with the Arab world; an immense and tempting market for the Argentinean products.

Since Eduardo Duhalde changed the abstentionist position, not only at the UN but also at another forums, Argentina manifested to be in favor of an independent State for the Palestinians and of the end of the foreign occupation, at the same time that it has condemned all the act of terrorism against Israeli targets.

Journalist Daniel Juri and Natasha Niebieskikwiat.



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