New Straits Times
Guatemala to move embassy to Jerusalem in May
Guatemala will relocate its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem this May, two days after the United States shifts its mission, the Latin American country’s president announced.
Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales told a cheering crowd yesterday that “as a sovereign decision, we recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel”.
Speaking at the annual conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, an influential pro-Israeli lobbying group, he said: “Under my instructions, two days after the US moves its embassy, Guatemala will return and permanently move its embassy to Jerusalem. I would like to thank President Donald Trump for leading the way.”
Trump’s decision in December to transfer the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem had drawn widespread condemnation, with critics saying it damaged hopes for a negotiated Middle East peace.
Morales nevertheless soon followed Trump, making Guatemala the first country to do so.
“This decision strongly evidences Guatemala’s continued support and solidarity with the people of Israel,” Morales said.
“We are sure that many other countries will follow in our steps.”
Only seven small countries, including Guatemala and Honduras, sided with the US and Israel on a non-binding December 21 UN General Assembly resolution rejecting Trump’s decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
The White House plans to open its new facility in Jerusalem on May 14, coinciding with the 70th anniversary of Israel’s creation.