Guatemala is moving its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem and says the U.S. has nothing to do with its decision.
The Central American state’s foreign minister announced on Wednesday that the United States did not pressure Guatemala for the planned transfer of its embassy to Jerusalem.
Sandra Jovel, Guatemala’s minister clarified: “There wasn’t any pressure. There wasn’t any overture from the United States to make this happen. This was a decision by the government, the state and the foreign policy of Guatemala.”
Earlier on Sunday, Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales also announced that his country is moving its embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
Guatemala has not specified when it is exactly moving its embassy to Jerusalem. Jovel visibly annoyed with insinuations of U.S. pressure also added: “We have not had pressure from any country because we are friends and historical allies with Israel…We have asked nothing of Israel and the United States.”
Guatemala only insists that it is not really “moving” but rather only “returning” to Jerusalem, where it was located until its transfer to Tel Aviv in 1978.
Such declaration makes Guatemala the first and only country thus far to follow the lead of U.S. President Donald Trump in stating that its embassy would be transferred to the holy city.
Last week to the disappointment of the U.S., two-thirds of U.N. members states or 128 nations rejected President Trump’s recent recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
Guatemala happens to be one of nine countries who voted against the U.N. General Assembly resolution and sided with the U.S. The other countries include aside from the U.S., Israel and Guatemala are Honduras, the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, and Togo.
There are countries who abstained or did not enter a vote.
Those who opposed the declaration of Trump argue that Jerusalem’s status can only be decided through peace negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians.
The United States will not be taking the vote against it at the U.N. lightly. It has already warned of cutting funding to countries that voted against it, asserting even that such countries do not deserve “the generosity of Americans.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu predicted that the decisions of the U.S. and Guatemala to transfer their embassies to Jerusalem were “just the start” and that others would follow.