Israel Foreign Minister Eli Cohen on Monday inaugurated the expansion of its embassy in the Philippines as the two countries mark their 65th year of diplomatic relations.
The inauguration came after Cohen arrived in the country for his two-day visit, which included a series of bilateral meetings with his counterpart, Foreign Affairs Secretary Enrique Manalo.
“We’re thrilled to announce the expansion of our Embassy, reflecting the growing and flourishing relations between Israel and the Philippines,” the embassy said on Monday.
Cohen’s visit will boost the historically friendly relations between Israel and the Philippines spanning over six decades now.
The signing of various agreements, participation in meetings with the public and private sectors and boosting trade cooperation between the two nations are among the other expected activities of the Israeli official.
Cohen arrived in the Philippines on Sunday night to strengthen bilateral ties between the two countries, particularly in areas where Tel Aviv is an expert of, such as economy, agriculture, water, innovation, and technology.
The Israeli Embassy in the Philippines said Cohen is also expected to pay a courtesy call on President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and conduct meetings with National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Director General Arsenio Molina Balisacan.
An Israel business delegation will join Cohen in some of his activities to connect with Filipino business companies, the embassy said.
Israeli Ambassador to the Philippines Ilan Flus said Cohen’s visit “reassures that Israel is a friend and an ally of the Philippines.
“And we see the relations flourishing further in the years to come,” he added.
His visit will also send a strong political and economic message, according to the embassy.
That is the reciprocity to the visit of former president Rodrigo Duterte to Israel in 2018, which paved the way for the opening of the Israeli Defense and Economic Attaché offices in Manila, the signing of bilateral agreements on overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and the expanding of defense cooperation.