Guatemala will move its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv in May, two days after the U.S. embassy makes the same move, Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales said on Sunday at a conference in Washington.
“I would like to thank President Trump for leading the way. His courageous decision has encouraged us to do what is right,” Morales said in a speech at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s annual policy conference.
Guatemala was one of only a handful of countries that backed U.S. President Donald Trump’s historical decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and it is the first country besides the United States to set a date for moving its embassy there. Trump’s move reversed decades of U.S. policy, infuriating Arabs who want the eastern part of the city as the capital of their imaginary state.
Prior to 1980, Guatemala and a dozen other countries maintained an embassy in Jerusalem. Israel’s passage in June 1980 of a law proclaiming Jerusalem its“indivisible and eternal capital” led to a U.N. Security Council resolution calling on Guatemala and several other countries to move their embassies to Tel Aviv, prompting their transfer.
Morales said his decision to return the Guatemalan embassy to Jerusalem“strongly evidences Guatemala’s continued support and solidarity with the people of Israel.”
Earlier on Sunday Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales and said at the start of the meeting: “Thank you for everything you’re doing, for recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. I hope soon you will move your embassy to Jerusalem; we hope.”
Guatemalan President Morales replied, “It is an honor and it is the right thing to do.”
The two discussed deepening bilateral ties and cooperation. Guatemalan President Morales invited Prime Minister Netanyahu to visit his country. The Prime Minister thanked him for the invitation and also invited him to visit Israel.