Singapore to Open Israel Embassy for First Time, Foreign Ministry Announces

The Asian city-state, already one of Israel's major markets for arms, is looking to expand ties with both Israel and the Palestinians

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Haaretz
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Singapore's Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan with his counterpart Yair Lapid.
Singapore's Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan with his counterpart Yair Lapid, March 21.Credit: Miri Shimonovich/GPO
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Haaretz

Singapore will open an embassy in Israel for the first time since diplomatic relations were established in 1965, the country's foreign minister announced on Monday.

The decision to upgrade Singapore's honorary consulate-general to an embassy in Tel Aviv was announced during Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan's visit to Israel.

Following their meeting, Israel's Foreign Minister Yair Lapid praised the decision as "further evidence of the good & special relations between our countries."

Singapore's foreign minister also revealed the country will establish a representative office in Ramallah, upgrading its non-resident representative, in order to "facilitate engagement" with the Palestinian Authority.

Balakrishnan visited Ramallah for the first time in almost six years, and met with Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh, Foreign Minister Riyad Al-Maliki and Health Minister Mai Al-Kaila. He also announced a "special healthcare assistance package" to the Palestinian Authority to fight the COVID pandemic.

On top of this, the foreign minister signed a memorandum of understanding in the field of artificial intelligence with Israel's Innovation, Science and Technology Ministry. He also visited Yad Vashem, and stated that "the world must never again allow such a tragedy to be repeated."

The island state already has an extensive relationship with Israel across several fields, and is one of the biggest importers of Israeli arms. In October, Defense Minister Benny Gantz flew to Singapore in a confidential meeting to discuss security-related matters.

Israel's security ties with Singapore have spanned over 50 years, and the IDF helped the Asian country build its army. The relationship with the southeast Asia city-state is considered a strategic asset due to its location between two big Islamic countries – Malaysia and Indonesia.

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