JERUSALEM, Feb. 19 (Xinhua) -- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu departed on Sunday to Singapore and Australia, the first official visits by an Israeli prime minister in these countries.
The visits are aimed to "strengthen security, economic and other ties with these important countries," Netanyahu said in a statement before the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem.
In Singapore, Netanyahu will meet with President Tony Tan Keng Yam and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong for talks over security and economic ties, according to a statement released by Israeli Prime Minister's Office.
In Australia, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Netanyahu are expected to hold a meeting with business people from both countries.
The week-long trip is part of Netanyahu's efforts to forge new economic and diplomatic alliances amidst increasing international criticism over the expansion of the Jewish settlements in the West Bank.
The trip comes three days after Netanyahu met United States President Donald Trump in Washington.
"What we are doing is to strengthen Israel's standing in the world," Netanyahu told his cabinet.