As the second country to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, Guatemala will move its embassy to the city.
By: Aryeh Savir, World Israel News
Guatemala has announced that it will move its embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv, making it the first country to officially follow the US in doing so.
Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales announced on his Facebook page that he spoke on Sunday with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The two discussed “the excellent relations” the two countries share.
One of the most important topics discussed was the move of the Guatemalan embassy to Jerusalem, he wrote.
“So I inform you that I have instructed the chancellor to initiate the respective coordination so that it happens,” Morales announced.
Guatemala has supported the creation of the state of Israel and was the second country to recognize it after the US. It was one of the nine nations that voted against last week’s United Nations resolution that condemned the US for President Donald Trump’s historic recognition of Jerusalem.
Israeli Foreign Ministry Spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon tweeted his thanks to Guatemala for its “important decision” to move its embassy to Jerusalem.
”Wonderful news and true friendship! Viva la amistad entre Guatemala,” he wrote, which means “long live the friendship” in Spanish.
Earlier this month, Guatemalan Foreign Minister Sandra Jovel announced that her country supports the US’ decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
Morales made an historic visit to Israel in November 2016. He is a devout evangelical Christian. Shortly after taking office, he visited a synagogue in Guatemala City, where he announced his intention to visit Israel. The Central American leader said during his visit that he looks forward to bolstering agriculture, science, technology and security ties with Israel.
“In this visit, we want to deepen the dialogue between the two countries and strengthen bilateral ties,” Morales said. “As allies, the excellent relations between our countries will continue.”
The first of many embassy moves?
A few countries have shown support for Trump’s move.
Romanian Parliament chief Liviu Dragnea stated Friday that he thinks his country “should seriously consider moving its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. We should think about it very seriously.”
“All Israeli central institutions are in Jerusalem, and the ambassadors and embassy’s staff are commuting from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem,” he said, essentially echoing President Donald Trump’s reasoning about recognizing Jerusalem’s as Israel capital.
Netanyahu last week expressed confidence that most European countries will follow Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
“I believe that all or most of the European countries will move their embassies to Jerusalem, recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, and engage robustly with us for security, prosperity and peace,” Netanyahu said in Brussels last Monday ahead of a meeting with all 28 foreign ministers of European Union (EU) member states.
The Czech Republic recognized western Jerusalem as the capital of Israel following Trump’s policy changes on the city.
The Czech government’s move on western Jerusalem follows the Czech Parliament’s approval of legislation in May that recognizes Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
In April, the Russian Foreign Ministry made a similar move to recognize “west Jerusalem” as the Israeli capital.