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Head of State meets with new Israel Ambassador

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The new Ambassador of Israel to Samoa presented his credentials at the Head of State’s residence at Tuaefu yesterday morning.

In his speech, His Highness Tui Atua Tupua Tamasese Efi said that it “gives me great pleasure to welcome you to Samoa and to receive your Letters of Credence from His Excellency, Shimon Peres, President of the State of Israel, accrediting you as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Israel to the Independent State of Samoa.

“Excellency, Samoa and Israel have indeed enjoyed a friendly and fruitful relationship since the establishment of diplomatic relations between our two countries in 1977. “

This relationship, he said, has largely been attained through the pursuit of common interests and aspirations in international forums for maintaining prosperity, peace and security in our regions and beyond.

“As members of the world community, we have also endeavoured to address challenges in the areas of sustainable development, human rights, poverty, terrorism, transnational crime and indeed, climate change and sea level rise, which is an issue of importance and urgency in our region,” said His Highness, in speech notes provided to the media.

“Excellency, Samoa appreciates the efforts by Israel in its cooperation with Samoa as shown in donations towards our Health and Sports Sectors as well as donations given to the Samoa Victim Support Group in past years.

“Another evidence of cooperation between our two countries is the pending visa waiver agreement that Samoa and Israel have already negotiated and are proposing to sign in the very near future.

"It is our hope to enhance cooperation between our two countries and to increase bilateral contacts with Israel in various areas of development assistance in the near future. “I would also like to echo your sentiments on the up-coming Small Islands Developing States (S.I.D.S.) conference that Samoa will host this year and Samoa looks forward to welcoming Israel’s delegation to participate in this very important meeting in September.

“Excellency, I am confident that during your term as Ambassador to Samoa, the cordial relations that exist between our two countries will continue to be further strengthened.

“I reciprocate the confidence that His Excellency, the President of Israel have in you and I wish you a successful and enjoyable tenure as Ambassador of Israel to the Independent State of Samoa.

“I also wish you and your wife an enjoyable visit to Samoa.” In response, the Ambassador of Israel, His Excellency Mr. Yosef Livne said that he was “honoured to be here today” and to present his credentials, as Israel’s new Ambassador to Samoa and convey greetings from Israel.

The independent state of Samoa and Israel has enjoyed great relations, he said. “We are especially grateful to your government for its steadfast support for Israel in the international arena. “Over the last few years,” he said, “the two countries have looked for different ways to cooperate within always present budget constraints.

“We have searched for practical ways in which to collaborate”, said the ambassador. “Israel would continue to look for new ways of furthering cooperation between the two countries.

“Last November we had the pleasure of hosting your Minister of Justice Fiame Naomi Mataafa at a Women’s Leaders Conference”, he said.

“As for the future we are looking forward to being able to host your Prime Minister in Israel, hopefully before this year is out.”

He had no doubt that Israel would seek to further enhance the friendship, which has characterised bilateral ties between the two countries. “We understand that this is an extremely important year for Samoa since in about six months you will host the Small Islands Developing States Conference,” he said.

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“Israel is planning to be present at this conference, which is so important to our friends in the region and elsewhere. “I know that as we meet here today, the discussion going around in Israel is how we can best contribute to advance the goals of this gathering.”

According to a press release provided by Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Livne holds a Masters degree in International Relations and has held several positions in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Israel.

He was Director of the Department of South America, Director for the Division for Latin America and the Caribbean, Director for Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean Department and became Director for the European Union Cooperation Programme in 2012. Mr Livne is a seasoned diplomat who has served in several Israeli overseas posts.

Mr Livne served as a Second secretary of Israel’s Embassy in Mexico, a First secretary of the Embassy in Chile, a Councillor of the Embassy in Brazil and Deputy Consul General of Israel in New York.

He also served as Ambassador of Israel to El Salvador and Non-resident ambassador to Belize in 1993-1997 and in 2001-2004, as Ambassador of Israel to Mexico and Non-resident to the Commonwealth of the Bahamas in 2006-2010.

In 2013 he became the accredited Ambassador of Israel to New Zealand with residence in Wellington. Ambassador Livne is married with two children. He is fluent in Hebrew, English, Spanish and Portuguese. Ambassador Livne is accompanied by his wife, Mrs. Norma Livne and Mr Jonathan Zadka, the Regional Counsellor to the Pacific Islands from the Embassy of Israel in Canberra.

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