Paraguay will return its embassy in Israel to Tel Aviv after the country’s previous government relocated it to Jerusalem in May. In a tit-for-tat response, Israel announced it would close its embassy in Paraguay.
National chancellor Luis Alberto Castiglioni announced the move on Wednesday, calling the decision by former President Horacio Cartes “visceral and without justification.” Cartes, a right-winger, made the decision to move the embassy to Jerusalem in May and was present for its inauguration.
Paraguay's Jerusalem embassy walkback: Israel to close embassy, recall ambassador https://t.co/AmJstIFK0b
— Haaretz.com (@haaretzcom) September 5, 2018
It was one of the last decisions Cartes made before President Mario Abdo Benitez took office last month, and followed the controversial decisions of the US and Guatemala to move their embassies to Jerusalem.
Benitez, the grandson of a Lebanese immigrant, said that he was not consulted about the move.
"#Paraguay moves embassy in #Israel out of #Jerusalem back to #TelAviv, less than four months after opening new mission; Israel shutters embassy in #Ascuncion in response, warns of 'strained' ties"https://t.co/0iZJHIwuVd
— Matt Lee (@APDiploWriter) September 5, 2018
Castiglioni said on Wednesday:
“Paraguay wants to contribute to an intensification of regional diplomatic efforts to achieve a broad, fair and lasting peace in the Middle East.”
Paraguay announces that it has decided to move its embassy to the occupying entity from Jerusalem back to Tel Aviv. https://t.co/jaGh03amaZ
— Ali Abunimah (@AliAbunimah) September 5, 2018
The recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital is a controversial one. East Jerusalem has been claimed as the capital of the Palestinian state, and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas described the US embassy there as “an American settlement outpost in East Jerusalem.”
Palestinian foreign minister Riyad al-Maliki claimed on Wednesday that he pushed President Benitez to reverse the move to Jerusalem.
— i24NEWS English (@i24NEWS_EN) September 5, 2018
Israel responded to Paraguay’s decision by recalling its ambassador to Paraguay and closing its embassy in the Latin American country’s capital, Asuncion. Before the diplomatic spat erupted, the Israeli ambassador, Zeev Harel, had been meeting with the Paraguayan minister for education, discussing cooperation between the two countries.
(RT, PC, Social Media)