Paraguay Announces Embassy Relocation to Yerushalayim, Strengthening Israel Ties

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu (R) and then-Paraguayan President Horacio Cartes at the official opening ceremony of the Paraguay embassy in Yerushalayim in 2018. (Amos Ben Gershom/GPO)

In the wake of Paraguayan President Santiago Pena’s inauguration, Foreign Minister Eli Cohen engaged in discussions with him, leading to a significant decision: Paraguay will move its embassy to Yerushalayim later this year. This diplomatic move was solidified in conjunction with Israel’s commitment to reopen its embassy in Asunción, the capital of Paraguay.

During their meeting, Cohen extended an invitation to President Pena to visit Israel for the official inauguration of the embassy in Yerushalayim. President Pena expressed his intention to make the trip before the embassy’s formal opening.

The forthcoming Paraguayan embassy in Yerushalayim will mark the fifth such establishment in the city. Cohen emphasized, “We are consistently enhancing Yerushalayim’s global recognition as Israel’s capital. I have invited President Santiago Pena to join us for the Paraguayan embassy’s inauguration in Yerushalayim.” He added, “The establishment of Paraguay’s embassy in Yerushalayim and Israel’s embassy in Asunción will fortify Israel’s regional and global position, as well as the vital connections between our two nations. We will continue to nurture the deep historical bonds with Latin American countries, steadfast supporters of Israel and the Jewish people.”

Notably, Paraguay had previously moved its embassy from Tel Aviv to Yerushalayim in May 2018, becoming the third country to do so after the United States and Guatemala. Back then, President Horacio Cartes, a staunch Israel ally, personally inaugurated the embassy in Jerusalem with a special ceremony. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu subsequently invited him to the annual torch-lighting event on Mount Herzl.

However, the policy took a turn when President Mario Abdo Benitez succeeded Cartes. In September 2018, President Benitez reversed the embassy’s relocation decision, citing a desire for neutrality in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This shift prompted Israel to express its disagreement, leading Netanyahu to recall the Israeli ambassador and close the Israeli embassy in Paraguay. The latter has remained nonoperational since late 2018.

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