Photo: AFP
President Morales (L) and PM Netanyahu
Photo: AFP
Guatemala announces Jerusalem Embassy move
Following example of US, Guatemalan President Morales announces planned embassy move from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem following a conversation with PM Netanyahu; 'Our country has supported Israel since its inception.'

Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales announced in a Facebook post Sunday night his country will be transferring its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, following a conversation he had had with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and in the wake of President Donald Trump's recognition of the city as Israel's capital.



"Dear citizens of Guatemala, I have spoken with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu today. We spoke about the excellent relations our countries have enjoyed since we supported Israel's creation. One of the important topics broached were transferring the Guatemalan Embassy to Jerusalem, and I hereby announce I have instructed the embassy's staff to plan such a move. May God bless you," Morales told his followers.


The United States has provided copious amounts of assistant to the Central American country in the past few years, and it is therefore likely President Trump's recent threats of cutting off aid helped his Guatemalan compatriot in making the decision.

President Morales (L) spoke with PM Netanyahu and announced plans to move the Guatemalan embassy to Jerusalem (Photo: AFP)
President Morales (L) spoke with PM Netanyahu and announced plans to move the Guatemalan embassy to Jerusalem (Photo: AFP)

Morales, a former comedian, has garnered widespread support from the conservative Christians in Guatemala, and has also found himself in hot water with the United Nations this year after one of the international organization's agencies attempted to impeach him for alleged corruption.


While Morales kept his seat, he has attempted to remove the chairman of the organization—the International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala—that tried to remove him, and was widely criticized for it by the UN, US and European Union.


Jerusalem sources professed their belief more countries will follow Trump's lead and announce moving their embassies to Jerusalem. Netanyahu echoed the same sentiment in a CNN interview he gave to reporter Oren Liebermann Friday, in which he said Israel was in talks with several countries on the matter but refused to name them until the transfer was underway.


President Morales at the UN (Photo: AFP)
President Morales at the UN (Photo: AFP)


"What Trump has finally done is recognize a historical truth," the prime minister said. "Jerusalem has been Israel's capital for 3,000 years, since the days of King David. It has been the capital of the State of Israel for the past 70 years. The time has come for the US to say—and I'm glad it has—'This is the capital and we recognize it as such.'"


Guatemala was also one of only nine countries to vote against the Palestinian initiative in the UN's General Assembly to denounce the American declaration last week. The matter was first put to a vote before the Security Council, and despite 14 countries voting in favor of censure, the US vetoed the resolution and it was thus abandoned.


Ambassador Haley (top) warned President Trump will be taking the vote's results personally (Photo: AFP, AP)
Ambassador Haley (top) warned President Trump will be taking the vote's results personally (Photo: AFP, AP)


In the General Assembly, US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley sent "threatening" letters to undecided countries in which she said, "Trump will be taking the results of the vote personally."


Haley stressed that while the US was not calling on other countries to also transfer their embassies, it was requesting they nevertheless honor its decision. She further noted the historical links between Jerusalem and Israel and the fact that the decision may incite violence in the region.


On the eve of the second vote Trump announced countries voting in favor of censuring the US will no longer enjoy economic assistance from the world's biggest economy.


Trump threatening to cut off aid to countries voting against the US in the UN


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"They take hundreds of millions of dollars, billions of dollars even, and then vote against us. Let them vote against us. We'll save a lot. We don't care," the president told reporters at the White House.


Israel considered the results of the vote—which passed with 128 countries voting in favor, nine voting against and 35 abstentions—a rousing diplomatic success.


Reuters and the Associated Press contributed to this report.


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