Israel's Deputy Foreign Minister will attend the annual general assembly of the Organization of American States this week in Honduras in an attempt to counter Iran's growing influence in Latinamerica, according to Israel diplomatic sources.
Danny Ayalon plans to meet representatives of several Latinamerican states at the summit in Honduras as arch-foe Iran tightens trade and military ties with a number of countries, mainly Venezuela and Bolivia.
”Israel sees in the summit a chance to deepen economic and diplomatic ties with Latinamerica and to match Iran's and (the Lebanese militia) Hezbollah's involvement in the region said the Israeli diplomatic official
The decision to send a high-ranking Israeli representative to the OAS summit for the first time in years stems from Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman's plan to bolster diplomatic ties in regions such as Latinamerica and Africa.
The ultra-nationalist minister is giving top priority to halting the Islamic republic's nuclear program, which Israel says is aimed at developing an atomic bomb, a claim denied by Tehran.
Ayalon from Honduras will travel to Washington where he will meet senior State Department and White House officials to discuss US-led efforts to end the Iranian nuclear standoff.
Lieberman himself plans to travel to Latinamerica and Africa in coming months as part of the diplomatic offensive to halt Iran's growing influence,” the official said.
A foreign ministry document leaked last week said that Israel suspects Venezuela and Bolivia of supplying uranium to Iran to advance its nuclear programme.
Israel has also accused Venezuela, which severed diplomatic ties with the Jewish state following its offensive in Gaza earlier this year, of backing Hezbollah and the Palestinian Islamic Hamas movement.
Both Bolivia and Venezuela ridiculed Israel’s claims.