US Vice President Pence urges Paraguay to return Israel embassy to Jerusalem
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence urged Paraguay’s new president to stick to his predecessor’s decision to move its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, Pence’s office said on Thursday after Asuncion announced plans to shift the diplomatic mission back to Tel Aviv.
Paraguay will move its embassy in Israel back to Tel Aviv, reversing a May decision by former President Horacio Cartes to move the diplomatic site to Jerusalem, the South American country’s foreign minister told reporters on Wednesday.
Pence, who played a main role in President Donald Trump’s decision to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv, spoke on Wednesday to Paraguayan President Mario Abdo, who was elected on Aug. 15.
Pence “strongly encouraged” Abdo to follow through with Paraguay’s commitment to move the embassy to Jerusalem “as a sign of the historic relationship the country has maintained with both Israel and the United States,” Pence’s office said in a statement.
Hours after Paraguay announced its change on Wednesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded by ordering the closure of Israel’s embassy in Paraguay. “Israel views with great severity the unusual decision of Paraguay which will cloud relations between the countries,” the Foreign Ministry said.
The statement from Pence’s office did not say how Abdo responded to the vice president’s request.