Guatemala to move embassy to Jerusalem in May— President Morales

Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales told the crowd at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee in Washington, DC, that his country recognises "Jerusalem as the capital of Israel." (AFP)

Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales told the crowd at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee in Washington, DC, that his country recognises "Jerusalem as the capital of Israel." (AFP)

Guatemala will relocate its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem this May, two days after the United States shifts its mission, the Latin American country’s president announced.

Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales told a cheering crowd on Sunday that “as a sovereign decision, we recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.”

Speaking at the annual conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), an influential pro-Israeli lobbying group, he said: “Under my instructions, two days after the United States moves its embassy, Guatemala will return and permanently move its embassy to Jerusalem.

“I would like to thank President Trump for leading the way.”

READ MORE: Following Trump, Guatemala plans to move its embassy to Jerusalem

Trump’s decision in December to transfer the US embassy from Tel Aviv to the disputed city of Jerusalem has drawn widespread condemnation, with critics saying it damages hopes for a negotiated Middle East peace.

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

“This decision strongly evidences Guatemala’s continued support and solidarity with the people of Israel,” Morales told AIPAC.

“We are sure that many other countries will follow in our steps.”

Only seven small countries— including Guatemala and Honduras— sided with the United States and Israel on a non-binding December 21 UN General Assembly resolution rejecting Trump’s decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Israel’s Foreign Minister Emmanuel Nahshon praised Morales’ announcement, tweeting: “Thank you Guatemala! Thank you [email protected]!

“The decision to move your embassy soon to #Jerusalem is courageous and visionary.”

“We are happy to welcome you to our beloved eternal capital.”

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