Paraguay to move its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem

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Paraguay plans to move its embassy in late May, following the US, Guatemala and Romania

US embassy move to Jerusalem is scheduled to take place on 14 May (Reuters)
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Thursday 10 May 2018 2:37 UTC
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Paraguay will move its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem by the end of May, a Paraguay government spokesman and the Israeli foreign ministry said on Monday, following the United States, Guatemala and Romania.

In a brief statement, Paraguay's foreign ministry said it had "begun the process of executing the presidential decision" to move the embassy.

"We are very pleased by the important decision to move the Paraguayan embassy. This decision by [President Horacio] Cartes is fair and brave," Israeli ambassador Zeev Harel told daily newspaper ABC de Asuncion.

The status of Jerusalem has long been an issue for negotiation between Israel and the Palestinians, but the Donald Trump administration broke from long-standing US policy on 6 December when the US president recognised the Holy City as Israel's capital.

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"Paraguay President Horacio Cartes plans to come to Israel by the end of the month to open an embassy in Jerusalem," Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon said in a statement.

A Paraguay government spokesman said Cartes was scheduling a trip to Israel to move the embassy on 21 May or 22 May.

In a visit to Venezuela to meet President Nicolas Maduro, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said he hoped other nations would not follow in the footsteps of Paraguay, Guatemala and the United States.

“We hope that other countries on the American continent are not going to move their embassies to Jerusalem as this acts against international law,” Abbas said.

Paraguay's announcement comes one week before the United States moves its embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv in accordance with Trump's recognition of the city as Israel's capital.

In December, 128 countries voted in a non-binding UN General Assembly resolution for the United States to drop its recognition. 

Israel occupied East Jerusalem in the 1967 Middle East war and annexed it in a move not recognised internationally.

In March, Guatemala's president, Jimmy Morales, said that his country would move its embassy to Jerusalem on 16 May, two days after the US move.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in April that "at least half a dozen" countries were now "seriously discussing" following the US lead, but he did not identify them.