by: Ilse Strauss
Thursday, 3 January 2019 | The small Central American country Honduras may very well be the third country to relocate its embassy from the shores of the Mediterranean in Tel Aviv to the hills of Judah in Jerusalem.
The announcement of the impending relocation came on Tuesday after a trilateral meeting between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Brasilia on the sidelines of the inauguration of Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro.
The discussion concluded with an agreement to meet in the countries’ respective capitals “to advance the decision process” to relocate the Honduran embassy to Jerusalem and to upgrade Israel’s consulate in Tegucigalpa to a full embassy, a joint statement released by the US State Department said.
According to the Jerusalem Post, Israel and the United States have long since considered Honduras the next likely candidate to open its embassy doors in the City of Gold. Both Jerusalem and Washington have a vested interest in such a move. While the US embassy relocation in May last year sparked condemnation from a number of world leaders, the Trump administration would like to see other countries following the United States’ lead. For Israel’s part, more embassies in Jerusalem simply mean more countries taking a stand on the contentious issue and acknowledging the City of Gold as its capital.
Honduras shares a border with Guatemala—the only country that has, to date, stepped up to the plate to follow in the United States’ footsteps. Moreover, the two Central American nations together with Togo and four other Pacific island states were the only seven countries to back the United States and Israel in a United Nations General Assembly resolution that condemned the United States for recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
Honduras has in the past expressed interest in being the third country with an embassy in Jerusalem. In fact, last year Honduran lawmakers passed a non-binding resolution calling on Hernandez to put the wheels for such a relocation in motion.
The Central American nation did, however, request a favor in kind: an Israeli embassy in its capital and a helping hand to get Honduran cyber security, water and agriculture tech and law enforcement on the right track.
The Jewish state is happy to oblige. “Israel wants to help Latin American countries deal with their water problems, economic growth, and security, and the US has a shared interested in this,” a senior Israeli official told reporters yesterday afternoon. The joint statement issued by the US State Department echoed the commitment, stating the sides “agreed to strengthen political relations and coordinate cooperation on development in Honduras.”
For his part, Honduran President Hernandez hailed Israel, the United States and Honduras as “strategic allies, committed to the development and security of their people. The alliance will be great results and positively impact the Honduran people.”
Tuesday’s trilateral meeting came as Netanyahu ended a historic five-day trip to Brazil, the first official visit by any sitting Israeli prime minister to the country. During the visit, newly inaugurated Brazilian President Bolsonaro extended a close hand of friendship to Netanyahu and hailed the Brazilian embassy move from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem as “a matter of when, not if.”
Posted on January 3, 2019
Source: (Bridges for Peace, January 3, 2019)
Photo Credit: Ashernet
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