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Guatemala Will Not Reverse Decision to Move Embassy to Jerusalem

Guatemala Will Not Reverse Decision to Move Embassy to Jerusalem

Sunday, 31 December, 2017 - 06:00
Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. (AFP)

Guatemala announced on Friday that it will not retract its decision to move its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.

The foreign ministry insisted that President Jimmy Morales' plan to move the embassy will not be reversed, and called for critics to "respect" the country's decisions.

"It's a decision that has been made ... it is not going to be reversed," Sandra Jovel told journalists during an event to commemorate the end of the Guatemalan civil war in 1996.

"The Guatemalan government is very respectful of the positions that other countries have taken, and as we are respectful of those decisions, we believe others should respect decisions made by Guatemala," she added in response to critics including the Palestinians.

Last Sunday, Morales unexpectedly announced the transfer of the embassy from Tel Aviv to Israel on social media, in the wake of the UN General Assembly's condemnation of a similar move by the United States.

The announcement made Guatemala the first country to follow the United States's controversial lead on the holy city.

Israel claims all of Jerusalem as its capital, while Palestinians, consider east Jerusalem as the occupied capital of their future state.

Morales, defending his decision, said Israel is an "ally" and that Guatemala has "historically been pro-Israel."

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu thanked Morales for his move, predicting that several other countries will follow suit.

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