Paraguay to move its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem


Asuncion (AFP)

Paraguay announced Wednesday that it intends to move its embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, becoming the third country to do so after the United States and Guatemala.

In a brief statement, Paraguay's foreign ministry said it had "begun the process of executing the presidential decision."

"We are very pleased by the important decision to move the Paraguayan embassy. This decision by (President Horacio) Cartes is fair and brave," Israeli ambassador Zeev Harel told daily newspaper ABC de Asuncion.

On Monday, Israeli foreign ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon posted a tweet celebrating the move, before it was confirmed by Asuncion Wednesday.

"Wonderful news as the international recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital gathers momentum," he wrote.

According to Israel's foreign ministry, Cartes may attend the opening of the new embassy on May 21 or 22 -- accompanied by president elect Mario Abdo Benitez, who is set to assume power in August.

Paraguay's announcement comes days ahead of the US embassy's relocation on May 14, which coincides with the 70th anniversary of the creation of the state of Israel.

US President Donald Trump's decision to move the US embassy -- a move that broke with decades of diplomacy and international consensus -- has sparked major protests by Palestinians, who consider east Jerusalem the capital of their future state.