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Argentina plans to move embassy to Jerusalem: Milei

AFP | Jerusalem, Undefined                                                

The Daily Tribune – www.newsofbahrain.com

Argentina's President Javier Milei delighted his Israeli hosts on Tuesday by announcing moves to shift his country's embassy to Jerusalem, almost as soon as he touched down.

The 53-year-old economist, who upended traditional politics to win election last year, was greeted warmly off his plane by Israel's Foreign Minister Israel Katz at Ben Gurion airport near Tel Aviv.

Milei, on his first official visit since taking office barring a brief swing through the Davos economic forum in Switzerland, said: "My plan is to move the embassy to west Jerusalem".

Confirmation of the widely expected announcement found favour with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, whose office said he "warmly welcomes" the move.

"The prime minister spoke about this with President Milei after his election, and welcomes the fact that the president has kept his promise," a statement read.

Right-winger Netanyahu and the libertarian Milei, who has been compared to former US president Donald Trump, are scheduled to meet for talks on Wednesday, with the aim of deepening ties between the two countries.

After his arrival, he headed to the Western Wall in Jerusalem -- the holiest place where Jews can pray. His trip will also see him visit a kibbutz and meet families of hostages taken by Hamas in October.

Milei, known for his fiery speeches and rock-star sideburns, describes himself as a "anarcho-capitalist". He was raised in a Catholic family but has studied Jewish scripture.

After his election win in November, he visited the tomb of a revered rabbi in New York -- a popular spiritual destination for some Jews.

Argentina's Jewish community is 250,000 strong and one of the largest in Latin America.

From Israel, Milei heads to Rome on Friday for a meeting with Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, and a private audience with Pope Francis.

Milei has previously criticised his fellow Argentinian but toned down his rhetoric more recently.