Javier Miley made these statements upon his arrival in Israel, where he is scheduled to meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Argentine President Javier Miley announced his plans to move his country's embassy to Jerusalem, as he begins a visit to Israel.
The 53-year-old economist, who upended traditional politics to win elections last year, was warmly welcomed by Foreign Minister Israel Katz at Ben Gurion Airport near Tel Aviv.
“My plan is to move the embassy to West Jerusalem,” Milley said, in his first official visit since taking office except for a short tour at the Davos Economic Forum in Switzerland.
Confirmation of the widely expected announcement was welcomed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, whose office said it “warmly welcomes” the move.
“The Prime Minister spoke about this matter with President Milley after his election, and welcomed the fact that the President kept his promise,” the statement read.
The right-wing Netanyahu and the liberal Milli, who has been likened to former US President Donald Trump – who moved the US embassy to Jerusalem in 2018, are scheduled to meet for talks on Wednesday, aiming to deepen relations between the two countries.
After his arrival, Miley headed to the Wailing Wall in the historic Old City of occupied East Jerusalem, which is the holiest place where Jews can pray.
His trip will also see him visit a kibbutz and meet the families of hostages taken by the Palestinian militant group Hamas when it attacked southern Israel on October 7, killing at least 1,139 people according to an Al Jazeera count based on official Israeli figures. The movement that rules Gaza took about 240 other people hostage.
After the Hamas attack, Israel launched a devastating bombing and ground offensive on Gaza, while severely restricting water, food and aid supplies to the Strip. The campaign led to the transformation of a large portion of the land into rubble and the displacement of more than 80 percent of Gaza's population.
More than 27,500 people were killed in the Israeli attack, and more than 66,000 others were injured, according to Palestinian authorities.
The Palestinian Hamas movement said it “strongly condemns” Milley's announcement. Hamas, which rules Gaza, said it considered this step “a violation of the rights of our Palestinian people to their land, and a violation of the rules of international law, considering Jerusalem to be occupied Palestinian land.”
Miley, known for his fiery speeches and wild sideburns, describes himself as an “anarcho-capitalist.” He grew up in a Catholic family but studied the Jewish Bible.
After winning the election in November, he visited the grave of a revered rabbi in New York – a popular spiritual destination for some Jews.
The Jewish community in Argentina numbers 250,000 people and is one of the largest Jewish communities in Latin America.
From Israel, Miley heads to Rome on Friday to meet with Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, and a private meeting with Pope Francis.
Miley had previously criticized his Argentine colleague, but he softened his tone recently.
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