SAO PAULO, April 19, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- An AJC senior leadership delegation has concluded a three-day visit to Brazil.
The group, led by AJC Executive Director David Harris, included Dina Siegel Vann, Director of AJC's Belfer Institute for Latino and Latin American Affairs (BILLA,) as well as AJC leaders from Chicago, Houston, Kansas City, Miami, New York, Westchester, and El Salvador.
The visit featured separate 90-minute meetings with Brazilian Foreign Minister Mauro Vieira and Defense Minister Jaques Wagner, as well as sessions with U.S. Ambassador to Brazil Liliana Ayalde, Israeli Ambassador to Brazil Reda Mansour, and Azerbaijani Ambassador to Brazil Elnur Sultanov.
Among the principal topics discussed with Brazil's government leaders were: (i) U.S.-Brazilian bilateral ties, which have continued for nearly 200 years; (ii) Brazil's key role in regional security and economic developments; and (iii) relations between Brazil and Israel, ever mindful of Brazil's essential support in the UN, in 1947, for Israel's rebirth.
"Brazil has continued to play an increasingly important role in regional and global affairs," said Harris. "We admire the pluralistic values that Brazil has embraced, and the message of peace and coexistence it regularly expresses. At the same time, our visit gave us the chance to discuss Brazil's regrettable decision to recall its ambassador from Israel last summer (returned a month later), as well as its troubling voting pattern on Israel-related issues in the UN and its specialized agencies, such as the Human Rights Council."
The AJC delegation was joined by leaders of the Jewish Federation of Sao Paulo, with which AJC has had a long-standing partnership, and CONIB, the political representative body of Brazilian Jewry, in the various meetings in Brasilia.
"We value our long-standing strategic partnership with AJC, which has proven very important for the Brazilian Jewish community, in the defense of Israel and other Jewish communities around the world," said Mario Fleck, President of the Jewish Federation of Sao Paulo, who joined the delegation in Brazil. "Together, we have had a voice in front of some of the most important leaders of the world. We are very proud of our connection with AJC and look forward to continuing our in-depth cooperation."
The mission also included an address by Harris to 150 professors and students at the prestigious Rio Branco University of International Relations in Sao Paulo.
The visit to Brazil marked the end of a three-country AJC diplomatic mission, which also included visits to the capitals of Uruguay and Chile. Muriel Asseraf is AJC's representative in Sao Paulo.
SOURCE American Jewish Committee