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Guatemala opens embassy in Jerusalem

Guatemala opens embassy in Jerusalem”

Guatemala festively opened its new embassy in Jerusalem on Wednesday, becoming the second country to do so after the United States.

Wednesday's development comes amid widespread anger and protests in the occupied Palestinian territories, commemorating the 70th anniversary of the Nakba, or Catastrophe.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales were among officials attending an inauguration ceremony at the new embassy at an office park in the disputed city at the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Guatemala also followed the United States in May 1948 to be the second country to recognise Jerusalem as capital of Israel.

"I think we need more Guatemala Streets in Israel", he said.

Some 150 people crammed into the foyer of the embassy, including US Ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, Sheldon Adelson, Jerusalem mayor, Nir Barkat and numerous Guatemalan ministers and members of the legislature, attended the event.

The Israeli premier said he would visit Guatemala on his next visit to Latin America. The latter is a major arms supplier to the central American nation.

Guatemala has relocated its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, just two days after the US. Before 1980, Guatemala and a dozen countries maintained an embassy in Jerusalem. The global community does not recognize the annexation of East Jerusalem and believes that the status of the city should be determined based on an agreement with the Palestinians, which claim the eastern part of Jerusalem. It also triggered a diplomatic backlash against Israel.

The Arab League and the French government condemned the USA embassy move as illegal and come in contravention of UN Security Council resolutions surrounding the conflict. Turkey expelled Israel's ambassador and consul general and several European countries summoned the Israeli ambassadors to their foreign ministries for questioning and called for an worldwide investigation.



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