Guatemala to move embassy to Jerusalem, backing the U.S.

Israel’s ambassador to Guatemala, Matty Cohen, said that no date had been set for the embassy move, “but it will happen after” the U.S. relocates its own embassy to Jerusalem
Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shake hands as they deliver statements to the media during a meeting in Jerusalem – Photo: Abir Sultan
26/12/2017
12:30
Reuters
Jerusalem/Guatemala City
-A +A

On Sunday, Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales said he had given instructions to move the Central American country’s embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, a few days after his government backed the United States in a row over the city’s status.

In a post on his official Facebook account, Morales said he decided to move the embassy from Tel Aviv after talking to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday.
 

“Dear people of Guatemala, today I spoke with the prime minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu. We are talking about the excellent relations that we have had as nations since Guatemala supported the creation of the state of Israel. One of the most important topics was the return of the embassy of Guatemala to Jerusalem. So I inform you that I have instructed the chancellor to initiate the respective coordination so that it may be. God bless you,” the Facebook post said in Spanish.

On December 6, U.S. President recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, reversing decades of U.S. policy and upsetting the Arab world and Western allies.

The status of Jerusalem is one of the thorniest obstacles to forging a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians, who want East Jerusalem as their capital.

The international community does not recognize Israeli sovereignty over the entire city, home to sites holy to the Muslim, Jewish and Christian religions.

On Thursday, 128 countries defied Trump by backing a non-binding U.N. General Assembly resolution calling for the United States to drop its recognition of Jerusalem.

Guatemala and neighboring Honduras were two of only a handful of countries to join the United States and Israel in voting against the resolution on Jerusalem.

The United States is an important source of assistance to Guatemala and Honduras, and Trump had threatened to cut off financial aid to countries that supported the U.N. resolution.

On Monday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu thanked Guatemala for deciding to move its embassy to Jerusalem, while the Palestinians said the Central American country was “on the wrong side of history.”

“God bless you, my friend, President Jimmy Morales, God bless both our countries, Israel and Guatemala,” Netanyahu said, switching to English, in remarks to a weekly meeting of his Likud party faction in parliament.

Israel’s ambassador to Guatemala, Matty Cohen, said on Army Radio that no date had been set for the embassy move, “but it will happen after” the United States relocates its own embassy to Jerusalem. U.S. officials have said that move could take at least two years.

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