Washington, MINA – Guatemala will relocate its embassy to Jerusalem in May, two days after the United States is slated to make the same move, the country’s president said Sunday.
“In May of this year, we will celebrate Israel’s 70th anniversary, and under my instructions two days after the United States moves its embassy, Guatemala will return and permanently move its embassy to Jerusalem,” President Jimmy Morales told thousands of attendees at the annual AIPAC policy conference.
“It is important to be among the first, but it is more important to do what it right,” he said, Weekly Standard reported.
Morales first announced the move in late December, following in the footsteps of the Trump administration. Guatemala was one of nine countries to vote against a December United Nations resolution rejecting the U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
“I would like to thank President Trump for leading the way,” Morales said Sunday to applause. “His courageous decision has encouraged us to do what is right.”
The United States is expected to move its embassy on May 14, which will coincide with the 70th anniversary of Israel proclaiming independence. When Trump announced the move, administration officials said that it could take several years, citing logistical and security concerns.
Axios reported that the May plans represent a “first phase:” the United States will open an “interim embassy” by renaming its consular annex in Jerusalem to the U.S. embassy. In the “second phase,” some U.S. diplomats will relocate to the “interim embassy.” The “third phase” involves finding a permanent location for a new embassy.
Upon announcing the move in early December, Trump said the recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital is a “recognition of reality.”
“Through all of these years, presidents representing the United States have declined to officially recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. In fact, we have declined to acknowledge any Israeli capital at all,” he said. “But today we finally acknowledge the obvious.”
Trump said the administration maintains its commitment to a peace agreement and that the U.S. is “not taking a position on any final status issues, including the specific boundaries of the Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem.”(R/R04/RS5)
Mi’raj News Agency (MINA)