FM Livni expressed her appreciation of FM de Barillas’ firm comments opposing the Iranian threat and El Salvador’s actions in that regard.

(Communicated by the Foreign Ministry Spokesperson)

Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Tzipi Livni presented a special Certificate of Commemoration today (Tuesday, 25 November 2008) to the Foreign Minister of El Salvador, Marisol Argueta de Barillas, in tribute of her country’s policy of saving Jews during the Second World War.

The certificate, which was presented to FM Barillas after a working lunch, states:

"The government and people of Israel extend their deepest gratitude to the El Salvadoran government, who, by issuing El Salvadoran citizenship papers at the consulate in Geneva headed by Consul-General José Arturo Castellanos Contreras, contributed to saving thousands of persecuted European Jews during the Second World War".

During the Second World War, the El Salvadorian Consul-General Col. José Arturo Castellanos Contreras issued thousands of citizenship papers to Jews from central Europe, mainly from Hungary. These documents enabled whole families to register as citizens of El Salvador and were therefore not deported to the concentration camps.

In July 1944, El Salvador requested that Switzerland act as the protector of its citizens in Hungary, at the time under Nazi occupation. As far as it is known, the vast majority of El Salvadoran citizens in Hungary at that time was comprised of Jews who received their citizenship papers from the consulate in Geneva.   

At the ceremony, FM Livni stated:

"Iran is searching for openings, and countries it can penetrate, to compensate for the vulnerability created by the sanctions. We are witness to the disturbing phenomenon of Iranian infiltration into South America, so much so that Latin America has become a convenient base for spreading Iranian political and economic ideology. The strengthening of ties between South American guerillas and the Iranian terrorism activists is plain to see.   

All countries witnessing this situation must cooperate in a concerted effort to diminish Iran’s international activities".

FM Livni expressed her appreciation of FM de Barillas’ firm comments opposing the Iranian threat and El Salvador’s actions in that regard.