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The presidential palace in Ashgabat

New ambassador to Turkmenistan will present credentials, then fly home

January 12, 2022

Due to pandemic, Bat-Eden Kite will arrive at host country as part of humanitarian mission at a cost of about $160,000.

Israel’s Foreign Ministry will spend more than NIS 500 million ($160,000) just so the newly appointed ambassador to Turkmenistan, Bat-Eden Kite, can present her credentials in her new host country.

Israel Hayom has learned that over the past several weeks the officials at the ministry have been at odds over whether this expenditure was necessary, but in recent days Director General Alon Ushpiz gave the go-ahead for the plan.

An isolated country that has virtually no internet, Turkmenistan is ruled by strongman Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov and has a long border with Iran.

Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, virtually no foreigners have been allowed in, but under the recently hatched plan in Jerusalem, Kite will go on a special flight as part of a humanitarian mission and stay at the capital Ashgabat, where she would officially present her credentials and begin her ambassadorship. Then, once the mission is over and the medical supplies are delivered, she will head back to Israel.

The Foreign Ministry deflected criticism and issued the following statement: “Turkmenistan is a moderate Muslim country and there is great importance in promoting relations with it, in part because of its geographical location but also because of the economic potential. There is consensus in the Foreign Ministry that it was important to have her arrive in Ashgabat, and following orderly organizational discussions that weighed the various alternatives, this course of action was taken. Without renewing the permanent presence there, relations cannot move forward, and that’s why we had to think outside the box to bring the ambassador there. That’s why it was decided to send a humanitarian mission there, at the request of the government of Turkmenistan.”

Published January 12, 2022 Israel Hayom

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