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Guatemala opens embassy in Jerusalem after USA move

17 May 2018, 12:40 | Myrtle Vega

Guatemala Follows US, Opens Embassy in Jerusalem

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin shakes hands with his Guatemalan counterpart Jimmy Morales at the presidential compound in Jerusalem

Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales attended the opening Wednesday morning of the embassy in the Technological Park of southern Jerusalem's Malha neighborhood.

Guatemala on Wednesday opened its embassy in Jerusalem, becoming the second country to do so. The move comes just two days after the US opened its own embassy in the city.

Guatemala, the second country to recognise Israel as a state in 1948, has had a long history of military cooperation with Israel.

Paraguay is expected to follow the U.S and Guatemala's lead, and plans to relocate their embassy to Jerusalem in the coming weeks.

Jimmy Morales, the Guatemalan President, arrived in Tel Aviv on Tuesday ahead of today's ceremony to a rapturous welcome; Jerusalem's old city walls were even illuminated with the Guatemalan flag and a message thanking Morales for his support.

The status of Jerusalem is one of the thorniest obstacles to forging a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians, who with broad worldwide backing want East Jerusalem, captured by Israel in the 1967 Middle East war, as their capital.

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The opening of the US embassy in Jerusalem on Monday triggered deadly clashes between Palestinian protesters and Israeli security forces in Gaza and the West Bank that left 61 dead and over 2,000 others wounded.

Israel captured East Jerusalem in the 1967 Mideast war and later annexed it in a move not recognized internationally.

On Wednesday, a day after expelling Israel's ambassador in response to the Gaza deaths, Turkey ordered the Israeli consul general in Istanbul to return home.

Netanyahu said it was fitting, noting that Guatemala also followed the U.S.to be the second country to recognize Israel 70 years ago.

Honduras, which voted with the USA and Israel on the December 21 United Nations resolution, is yet to decide on relocating from Tel Aviv, despite parliamentary approval for the move.



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