President Vazquez, due to arrive on his first state visit to Israel, will meet with Israeli heads-of-state and sign a bilateral agreement to promote industrial research and development between Uruguay and Israel.

(Communicated by the Foreign Ministry Spokesman)

President Tabare Vazquez of Uruguay will arrive in Israel on an official three-day visit on Monday, 25 August 2008, as a guest of President Shimon Peres.

President Vazquez is arriving at the head of a high-level delegation that includes four ministers (the Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs, the Minister of Agriculture and Fishing, the Minister of Health and the Minister of Education and Culture), the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and a delegation of senior businessmen. Leaders of the Jewish community in Uruguay are also participating in the delegation.

During the visit, President Vasquez will meet with President Peres, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and with Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Tzipi Livni. He will visit the Weizmann Institute, the Schneider Hospital and the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial.

President Vasquez’ has visited Israel before. In his previous visit in the 1970’s, he specialized in oncology at the Weizmann Institute of Science. Despite being elected president, Tabare Vazquez continues his medical practice to this day.

This visit continues the long tradition of visits by presidents of Uruguay to Israel. Uruguay is one of the friendliest nations to Israel in South America., and was actively involved in the processes leading to the establishment of the State of Israel. Uruguay is also one of the foremost contributors to the peacekeeping force in the Sinai.

Signing of the R&D agreement between Israel and Uruguay

During his meeting with FM Livni, Dr. Vasquez will sign a bilateral agreement to promote industrial research and development between the two countries.

In addition, Dr. Vasquez and his Minister of Economic Affairs will participate in a large economic event organized by the Embassy of Uruguay in Israel and the MFA Economic Affairs Division, in cooperation with the Israel Export Institute, the Israel-Latin America Chamber of Commerce and other economic entities.

In December 2007, the free trade agreement between Israel and the Mercosur states (the trade bloc that comprises Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay) was signed in Montevideo. Uruguay was the first country to ratify the agreement