Honduras signals readiness to move embassy to Jerusalem

Israel and Honduras jointly announce a plan to set up embassies in each other’s capital. The U.S. is also involved. 

By David Jablinowitz, World Israel News

Israel and Honduras have agreed to proceed with a plan to open embassies in Jerusalem and Tegucigalpa. The commitment is made in a joint statement on behalf of the two countries and the U.S.

Issued by the U.S. State Department, the announcement says that the three countries have “agreed to pursue a plan of action, which includes meetings in their three respective capitals to advance the process of the decision to open embassies in both Tegucigalpa and Jerusalem.”

The three-way agreement was announced as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. All three were in Brasilia for the inauguration of President Jair Bolsonaro on Tuesday.

In a tweet, Hernandez said: “The U.S., Israel, and Honduras are uniting as strategic allies, committed to the development and security of their peoples. The alliance will bring great results and positively impact the Honduran people.”

The step by Honduras is seen as a victory for Netanyahu, who has been active in recruiting countries to move their embassies in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem since U.S. President Donald Trump moved the American Embassy to Jerusalem last May and Guatemala followed suit.

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Netanyahu said on Sunday that the new Brazilian president told him in talks before the inauguration that it was just a matter of time until Brazil moves its embassy to Jerusalem. Paraguay briefly moved its embassy but reversed the decision just months later.

Honduran officials are hoping for assistance from Washington and Jerusalem in return. Tuesday’s statement said the aim of the tri-national plan is also to “strengthen political relations and coordinate development cooperation in Honduras.”

For Israel, the plan means upgrading its consulate in Tegucigalpa to embassy status.

In addition, Hernandez said that Netanyahu agreed to open up the Israeli market to Honduran coffee exports, according to a statement issued by his office. Diplomatic sources say that Honduras wishes to attain Israeli know-how on cyber security, water and agriculture technology, and methods of law enforcement.

The U.S. side to the agreement is important to Honduran leaders who hope to find favor with Washington by following in Trump’s footsteps in moving their embassy to Jerusalem. The U.S. president has threatened to cut off aid over the issue of illegal migrants from Honduras crossing Mexico heading for the U.S. border. Honduras hopes that this agreement will instead mean upgraded ties with the Trump administration.