Meeting with Israeli president Reuven Rivlin, Slovakian National Council head Andrej Danko expressed his country’s intentions of moving its embassy to Israel’s capital.
Upon arriving in Israel, MP Martin Glváč, leader of the Slovakian National Council’s Slovakian-Israeli friendship committee, had spoken of the Slovakians’ plans to first open a cultural center in Jerusalem, adding that, “I’m full of hope that this is the first of a series of steps that will follow”.
Glváč and Danlo were joined in Israel by Milan Štěch, the president of the Czech senate.
Slovak National Council Andrej Danko told President Reuven Rivlin on Wednesday that Slovakia is on its way to moving their embassy to Jerusalem. Glváč’s earlier announcement came on Tuesday at a Knesset event marking a double celebration of the 100 years since the founding of Czechoslovakia, which later split into Slovakia and the Czech Republic, and the 70 years since the establishment of the State of Israel.
The surprise move means that the country will follow Bulgaria and the Czech Repubic in making symbolic acts recognizing Jerusalem’s status as Israel’s capital. The trend was started when US President Donald Trump pledged last year to stop deferring his country’s embassy transfer to Jerusalem, making good on that promise this May. Since then, Guatemala and Paraguay have joined America and relocated their respective embassies to Jerusalem.
In June, Bulgarian prime minister Boyko Borisov visited Israel. While visiting Jerusalem he told Benjamin Netanyahu that he appreciated Israel’s desire for recognition of Jerusalem’s status as Israel’s capital from the international community, adding that he would seek to move his own country’s embassy to the “eternal capital of the Jerusalem”.
The Czech Republic reopened an honorary consulate in Jerusalem in May, two years after it had been closed after the death of the previous honorary consul. Czech President Milos Zeman had previously repeatedly stated his intention of moving his the country’s embassy in Israel to Jerusalem and, like the Slovakians, also spoke of a multi-stage plan in order to do so.
Slovakian Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini’s decision was reached after Speaker of the Israeli Knesset Yuli Edelstein called on Slovakia to follow their neighbors from Czech Republic in committing themselves to Jerusalem by opening an honorary consulate in the city. Edelstein expressed gratitude to the Slovakians, saying,“This is a tremendous diplomatic achievement for Israel and a pleasant surprise for all of us.”
“I am certain that when additional delegations arrive here they will understand Jerusalem is Israel’s eternal capital,” he added.