President Jimmy Morales says “This is an important moment for the future of our peoples”.
Guatemala has officially transferred its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, two days after the United States of America held its own Jerusalem embassy inauguration ceremony on Monday.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was present Wednesday morning as Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales spoke of the “love, peace and fraternity” his country is bringing to Israel, hailing the move as a “courageous decision”.
“This is the beginning of something extraordinary, or I would say, the re-beginning of something extraordinary, which is the relationship between Guatemala and Israel”, the prime minister stated.
Guatemala was one of only a few nations that backed Trump’s decision in December to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and is only the second country to move its embassy to the holy city. Paraguay said it will move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem by the end of May.
Guatemala was one of seven countries to proudly vote with the Trump administration and Israel when the issue of the Jerusalem embassy arose at the United Nations. The other states were Honduras, the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, and Togo.
The Guatemalan President’s office celebrated the news on Twitter.
Netanyahu declared that the move was in line with Guatemala’s close friendship with Israel. “It’s not a coincidence that Guatemala is opening its embassy in Jerusalem right among the first. You were always among the first. You were the second country to recognize Israel”, the prime minister said, referring to Israel’s founding in 1948.
“We remember our friends and Guatemala is our friend, then and now”, added Netanyahu. “My next trip through Latin America goes through Guatemala”, Netanyahu added, going on to state that Israel and Guatemala share values, and saying that the concepts of personal liberty and the rule of law were born in Jerusalem.
This year in Jerusalem! pic.twitter.com/DmPneq4FQd
— Mayor Nir Barkat (@NirBarkat) May 15, 2018
Nir Barkat, Jerusalem’s mayor, expressed his support and thanks for the Guatamalan’s “leadership”.
Morales and Netanyahu met again later in the day when the convened at the Prime Minister’s Office in the early afternoon, where they were joined by Sandra Jovel, Guatemala’s foreign minister. They trio went from there to a gala reception at the nearby King David Hotel. Netanyahu and Morales were scheduled to also sit down to an official dinner at the Prime Minister’s Residence together with their wives.
Horacio Cartes, the president of Paraguay is scheduled to land in Israel next week for the official opening of his country’s new Jerusalem embassy. Joining Paraguay, officials in Romania, the Czech Republic and Honduras have all made statements in recent months about plans for their own potential embassy moves.