Guatemala Opens Embassy in Yerushalayim, Two Days After U.S. Move

YERUSHALAYIM (Reuters) -
Workers hanging from the side of a building place a banner welcoming the opening of the new Guatemalan embassy, in the complex hosting the new embassy in Yerushalayim, Tuesday. (Reuters/Ronen Zvulun)

Guatemala opened an embassy in Yerushalayim on Wednesday, two days after the United States inaugurated its new site in the city.

Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu attended the embassy’s opening on Wednesday in an office complex in west Yerushalayim.

“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 recognise Israel,” Netanyahu said at the ceremony, referring to its founding in 1948.

Guatemala was one of only a few nations that backed Trump’s decision in December to recognize Yerushalayim as Israel’s capital and it is only the second country to move its embassy to the city. Paraguay has said it will move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Yerushalayim by the end of May.

Trump’s move reversed decades of U.S. policy, upsetting the Arab world and Western allies.

Palestinian leaders said by relocating the embassy to Yerushalayim the United States had created incitement and instability in the region and abrogated its role as a peace mediator.

Prior to 1980, Guatemala and a dozen other countries maintained embassies in Yerushalayim. Israel’s passage in June 1980 of a law proclaiming Yerushalayim 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.