The Central American nation of Honduras held a ceremony marking the opening of its trade office in Jerusalem on Sunday in the office of a law firm across the hall because its own premises were not yet ready.
During the ceremony, which was attended by Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, a sign identifying the suite as the new trade office was unveiled, but, as of Monday, it had been removed and replaced by with the tenants’ own sign, Channel 13 reported.
A reporter who went to the law firm was told to stop speaking “nonsense” when he asked if it was the location of the trade office and was sent across the hall, where he was told that the Honduran center was still in the process of being set up.
“This is a temporary office until it moves to its permanent location,” a Foreign Ministry spokesman said. “We invite Israeli businessmen to go to the new delegation in Jerusalem to strengthen relations” between Honduras and Israel.
הערב ב"לפני החדשות" עם @usegal – לאן נעלם חלק מלשכת הסחר של הונדורס, שנפתחה אתמול בחגיגיות? עורכי דין סיפרו שהפקיעו מהם ליום אחד את המשרד וכיסו את השלטים שלהם בשילוט של לשכת הסחר של הונדורס. היום כבר הוסרו השלטים והמשרד חזר לשימושו המקורי. הסיפור המלא – ב-18:45 בערוץ 13 pic.twitter.com/SObzcrVZUD
— חדשות 13 (@newsisrael13) September 2, 2019
The opening of the trade office was merely a “first step,” Hernandez said at the opening on Sunday, noting that the second step — opening an embassy — would follow in the coming month.
The office, which has “diplomatic status,” as it is considered an extension of the Honduran embassy in Tel Aviv, is located inside the Jerusalem Chamber of Commerce on 10 Hillel Street. It will bring “more investment and more opportunities for the Honduran people,” Hernandez predicted.
At the event, Netanyahu thanked Hernandez for opening the “important mission” in Jerusalem and for his recognition of the city as Israel’s capital.
Last week, Hernandez said that for him, opening a trade office in the city is “the recognition that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel.”
In his speech Sunday, Netanyahu said that Jerusalem has been “our capital since the time of King David” three millennia ago.
“I have committed, and this is a commitment I want to repeat again: We will open embassies simultaneously,” he said. “We are going to open an office of trade and technology in Tegucigalpa soon. Now. Next week. There is this reciprocity of friends, genuine friends.”
Raphael Ahren contributed to this report.