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Israel 'gets Argentina pledge' on Buenos Aires attacks

31 March 11 03:10
The Jewish community centre, AMIA, in Buenos Aires, Argentina, after being bombed - 18 July 1994

Argentina has pledged to continue investigations into the bombings of two Jewish targets in Buenos Aires in the 1990s, Israeli officials say.

Foreign Minister Hector Timerman expressed "deep commitment to the investigation", Natan Sharansky of the Jewish Agency said after talks.

Argentina, Israel and the US have blamed Iran for the attacks.

A press report alleged Argentina had offered to halt investigations, if trade ties improved with Iran.

Iran has denied involvement in the bombings, which killed 114 people.

A car bomb exploded outside a Jewish community centre known as the AMIA on 18 July 1994, killing 85 people.

Twenty-nine people were killed two years earlier when a bomb destroyed the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires.

Visit still on

The report about a putative deal between Buenos Aires and Tehran appeared last weekend in the Argentine media. The newspaper Perfil quoted a leaked Iranian diplomatic cable that detailed the offer.

The cable reportedly said: "Argentina is no longer interested in solving those two attacks, but in exchange prefers improving its economic relations with Iran."

Israeli media reported that the foreign ministry was considering cancelling a planned visit by Mr Timerman to Israel if the reports proved to be reliable.

Mr Sharansky, head of the Jewish Agency - a government-backed organisation that facilitates the immigration of Jewish people to Israel - said the visit was still on after his meeting with the Argentine foreign minister in Buenos Aires.

For its part, the Argentine foreign ministry confirmed the meeting took place, without mentioning the bombing investigations.

It has not so far commented on the alleged offer to Iran.

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