Following US lead, Guatemala moves embassy to Jerusalem

Guatemala Follows US, Opens Embassy in Jerusalem

Guatemala Follows US, Opens Embassy in Jerusalem

Guatemala inaugurated its new embassy in Jerusalem on Wednesday, two days after the US opened its embassy in the disputed holy city.

Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales attended the opening Wednesday morning of the embassy in the Technological Park of southern Jerusalem's Malha neighborhood.

The US, however, blocked a statement drafted by Kuwait calling for an independent investigation into the killings of Palestinian protesters in Gaza and calling on countries not to station their diplomatic missions in Jerusalem.

The US embassy move on Monday was accompanied by mass protests and clashes along the Gaza border that saw Israeli forces kill 60 Palestinians.

The US and Guatemalan moves break with decades of global consensus.

No country recognised Jerusalem as Israel's capital until December 2017, when Trump declared it as such, breaking with decades of U.S. policy favouring the division of Jerusalem between Israel and a future Palestinian state. "Therefore we consider the participation in this event a contradiction to such values", said Amal Jadou, a Palestinian Foreign Ministry official.

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Guatemalan president Jimmy Morales dedicated the embassy just two days after a high-powered American delegation also marked the transfer of its embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Israel captured East Jerusalem in the 1967 Mideast war and later annexed it in a move not recognized internationally.

Guatemala becomes the second nation to formally move their Israel embassy to Jerusalem.

Netanyahu said it was fitting, noting that Guatemala also followed the be the second country to recognize Israel 70 years ago.

"This is the beginning of something extraordinary, or I would say, the re-beginning of something extraordinary, which is the relationship between Guatemala and Israel", he said.

Before the ceremony, Netanyahu and Morales held a private meeting.

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