Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández, on a visit to Israel, is slated to meet with Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and attend the dedication of the Honduran Embassy in Jerusalem on Thursday.
“Glad to return to Israel,” Hernández tweeted upon arriving Wednesday evening. “This trip will serve to continue strengthening the ties of friendship, solidarity and cooperation between our two sister nations. I am convinced that it will be a great blessing for Honduras.”
He added that the dedication of the new embassy will be “a historic date” for Honduras.
Hernández was slated to meet with Bennett on Thursday morning at the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem, and attend the inauguration of the embassy at the Technology Park in Jerusalem’s Malha neighborhood on Thursday afternoon.
The new embassy will be the fourth established in Jerusalem, after those of the United States, Guatemala and Kosovo.
During his visit, the president is also scheduled to meet with President Reuven Rivlin, Foreign Minister Yair Lapid and opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu.
In September, Hernández and then-prime minister Netanyahu agreed to open reciprocal embassies in each other’s capitals by the end of 2020.
But at the time of the initial announcement, Hernández noted that he hoped “to take this historic step before the end of the year, as long as the pandemic allows it.”
Earlier this month, he announced that the long-awaited move would take place in June.
“We are going to formalize what we have already carried out step by step, which is the installation of our embassy in Jerusalem,” Hernández said, adding that the move “will empower us on the agricultural side, in the field of innovation and in the field of tourism.”
Israel is set to open a diplomatic office in Tegucigalpa, Honduras’s capital city, after having opened a temporary representative office in the Honduran capital last August.
The meeting between Bennett and Hernández will be the new Israeli prime minister’s first face-to-face meeting with a foreign leader since he took office last week.
Honduras recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in August 2019, and a month later opened a commercial office in Jerusalem as an extension to Honduras’s embassy in Rishon Lezion.
In January 2020, Honduras officially declared Hezbollah a terrorist organization in a move praised by Jerusalem.
On Sunday, the government approved the appointment of Eldad Golan Rosenberg as the new Israeli ambassador to Honduras, among 36 diplomats whose approvals had been held up for months by the former government.
AFP contributed to this report.