Israel and New Zealand fully restore diplomatic ties

JTA

Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaking at the Sydney International Convention Centre, Feb. 22, 2017.
(Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

(JTA) — Israel and New Zealand have restored diplomatic ties following the island nation’s sponsorship last year of an anti-settlement United Nations resolution.

Following monthlong discussions, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke on the phone with New Zealand Prime Minister Bill English several days ago, according to a statement by the Israeli government released Tuesday.

Netanyahu also ordered Israel’s ambassador to New Zealand to return to his post in Wellington.

In February, Israel permanently downgraded its diplomatic ties with New Zealand and Senegal, two of the co-sponsors of an anti-settlement resolution passed by the Security Council in December. The United States abstained on the measure.

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“First and most importantly, as I said in our conversation, I regret the damage done to relations between New Zealand and Israel as a result of New Zealand’s co-sponsorship of UNSC resolution 2334,” English told Netanyahu in a letter sent after the discussions, according to the statement.

“We welcome the return of Israel’s ambassador to Wellington,” he added.

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