Guatemala to move its embassy to Jerusalem on May 16
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Guatemala to move its embassy to Jerusalem on May 16

Mayor Barkat meets with Guatemalan ambassador in capital to discuss arrangements for relocating mission

Stuart Winer is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, center, with Guatemalan ambassador Sara Angelina Solis, right, and Guatemalan Foreign Ministry director-general Maria Luisa Ramire in Jerusalem, April 11, 2018. (Jackie Levi/Jerusalem Municipality)
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, center, with Guatemalan ambassador Sara Angelina Solis, right, and Guatemalan Foreign Ministry director-general Maria Luisa Ramire in Jerusalem, April 11, 2018. (Jackie Levi/Jerusalem Municipality)

Guatemala will relocate its embassy to Jerusalem on May 16, two days after the US is scheduled to move its mission to the capital, the Jerusalem municipality said Wednesday.

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat met with Guatemalan Ambassador Sara Angelina Solis Castaneda and the director-general of the Guatemalan Foreign Ministry, Maria Luisa Ramirez, to discuss details of the move.

“I congratulate Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales and the Guatemalan government on the brave decision to move the embassy to Jerusalem and call on other countries to follow the United States and Guatemala to move their embassies to Jerusalem,” Barkat said, according to a statement from the municipality.

Last month, Morales announced that, like the US, his country would be moving its embassy to Jerusalem in May.

“In May of this year, we will celebrate Israel’s 70th anniversary, and under my instructions two days after the US will move its embassy, Guatemala will return and permanently move its embassy to Jerusalem,” Morales told a crowd of more than 18,000 gathered in Washington, DC, for the annual AIPAC policy conference.

In 1959, Guatemala was the first country to open its embassy in Jerusalem, but later moved it to Tel Aviv, following international rejection of Israeli claims to East Jerusalem.

Last December, US President Donald Trump bucked decades of US foreign policy by formally recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and setting in motion plans to move the US Embassy there from Tel Aviv. Earlier this month, the US said the move would take place to coincide with Israel’s 70th birthday.

Morales quickly followed Trump, making Guatemala the first country to do so.

The Palestinians have been fuming over Trump’s move. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and other Palestinian officials have refused to meet with members of the Trump administration since his announcement, including Vice President Mike Pence when he visited the region in January. They have also said Washington can no longer serve as a peace broker.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new US embassy, in the southern Jerusalem neighborhood of Arnona, is being planned for mid-May. Israel this year marks its 70th year of independence.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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