Diplomacy

Paraguay’s President Announces Plans to Move Embassy to Jerusalem

Paraguay’s President Horacio Cartes announced on Friday his plan to move the country’s embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, The Jerusalem Post reported Sunday.

The President made the announcement at a special celebratory event in Asunción to mark Israel’s 70th anniversary. Cartes didn’t specify the exact date for the embassy’s relocation, but pledged it would happen by the end of the government’s term, when he leaves office in mid-August.

It is not unclear if Cartes consulted with President-elect Hugo Velázquez before announcing the move.

Paraguay had already indicated in March that it would relocate its embassy if Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu agreed to visit the country. During the first visit of a sitting Israeli Prime Minister to Latin America in September, Netanyahu didn’t stop in Paraguay.

Cartes has been supportive of Israel since he was elected president of Paraguay in 2013. During that time, Paraguay has voted in support of Israel in the United Nations. When Cartes visited Israel in 2016, Netanyahu praised him for supporting Israel “in difficult circumstances.”

The announcement comes just weeks before the United States is set to open its new embassy in Jerusalem on May 14. On Friday, Trump said that he may come to Israel for that event.

“I may go. I am very proud of it. Jerusalem has been a subject that has been promised for many, many years by presidents. They all made campaign promises but they never had the courage to carry it out. I carried it out.”

Guatemala is the only other country with concrete plans to move its embassy. A few other countries, however, have announced similar steps, including Czech Republic, Romania, and Honduras.

The Czech Republic on Wednesday announced it will appoint an honorary consul in Jerusalem, the first in a three-step to relocate the embassy. The Czech Foreign Ministry rejected accusations of breaking with E.U. policy over the move.

“This step in no way prejudges the final agreement concerning Jerusalem, the same way as it is not being prejudged by diplomatic representations of several European countries that are seated in East Jerusalem,” the statement said.

Earlier this month, the parliament of Honduras passed a nonbinding resolution calling for the country’s embassy to be moved to Jerusalem.

[Photo: IsraeliPM / YouTube ]