Paraguay to relocate its embassy to Jerusalem, following US and Guatemala even as Palestinians continue opposition

Paraguay's Foreign Ministry has confirmed that the country will shift its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, following the United States and Guatemala in a change long sought by Israel's government but opposed by Palestinians. The ministry said in a statement yesterday that it "has begun the process" of carrying out the order by President Horacio Cartes.

A file photo of the city of Jerusalem. Reuters

A file photo of the city of Jerusalem. Reuters

Israel's Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon said earlier this week that Cartes would attend the opening ceremony, which he said would occur by the end of May. However, the spokeswoman for Paraguay's Foreign Ministry, Elvio Venega, said no date has been determined. The Paraguayan statements did not indicate if Cartes would go to Israel for the ceremony.

The president, whose five-year term ends 15 August, is expected to resign within a few weeks so that he can be sworn into a seat to which he was elected in Paraguay's Senate. The constitution forbids officials to hold two posts simultaneously. The US officially opens its embassy in Jerusalem on 14 May 14 followed two days later by Guatemala.

President Donald Trump overturned decades of US policy last year by announcing the Jerusalem move. Israel claims the entire city as its eternal capital. Palestinians want east Jerusalem as their future capital and were infuriated by the declaration. Most countries maintain embassies in Tel Aviv and have baulked at moving them until the international legal status of the city has been resolved.

Cartes' decision irked some within Paraguay as well. Luis Castiglioni, who has been designated as the future foreign minister by president-elect Mario Abdo Benitez, told the Mil radio station that "it would have been better to consult with the president-elect in this case, which could have geopolitical consequences."

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Updated Date: May 10, 2018 10:15 AM

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