Hondura’s President will arrive in the Jewish State to attend the opening of the trade mission.
By World Israel News Staff
Honduras is to open a trade office in Jerusalem next week, in what is seen as a preliminary step toward moving its embassy to the Israeli capital, says the Israeli Foreign Ministry. Sara Netanyahu, the prime minister’s wife, took partial credit for the move.
Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez is to arrive in the Jewish State to attend the opening of the trade mission, the Foreign Ministry added. Israel and Honduras previously agreed to proceed with a plan to open embassies in Jerusalem and Tegucigalpa.
It was part of a three-way arrangement also involving the U.S. which was announced by the State Department at the beginning of 2019.
In July, the Israeli government was reported as preparing an “official initiative to relocate and open foreign embassies in Jerusalem,” granting incentives to countries to lure them into making the move.
Sara Netanyahu took credit for her role in the process. During an interview on Tuesday, she spoke of a visit she made to Guatemala with a diplomatic delegation from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which planted the seed toward the opening of Honduras’ Jerusalem mission, Ynet reports.
Sara Netanyahu met for lunch with Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales and his wife Patricia.
“At dinner, I asked the President to help us move the Honduran Embassy to Jerusalem,” Netanyahu said during the interview on “Regev Live.”
“At that moment, he immediately called his friend Honduran President Juan Hernandez and told him that he was sitting with me for lunch and that I proposed the move of opening a diplomatic mission in Jerusalem,” she said.
“This is how the dialogue started between the two nations, culminating with the opening of the diplomatic mission in Jerusalem this Sunday,” Sara Netanyahu said.
Honduras has been trying to find favor with the Trump administration, which moved the American Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in May 2018. Washington had been angered by what it viewed as the Central American country’s lack of action toward preventing the flow of migrants toward the U.S. border.
Hernandez told the annual AIPAC pro-Israel lobby policy conference in Washington in March, “Honduras will immediately open our official diplomatic mission, and this will extend our embassy to the capital of Israel, Jerusalem.”
Despite the U.S. move, the process of getting other countries to set up embassies in Jerusalem has been slowed by Muslim resistance from within or pressure from Arab states.
In March, Jordan’s King Abdullah II canceled a visit to Romania to protest its prime minister’s support for recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
Romania’s Prime Minister Viorica Dancila had just announced at the AIPAC conference that Bucharest would relocate its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Romanian President Klaus Iohannis, a government rival who is in charge of the East European nation’s foreign policy, said the prime minister hadn’t consulted with him over the decision.
In May 2018, two days after the American move, Guatemala transferred its embassy to Jerusalem.