Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen said on Wednesday that the newly-elected president of Paraguay, Santiago Peña, will reopen Paraguay’s embassy in Jerusalem. As a reciprocal move, Israel will reopen its embassy in Asunción, the country’s capital.
Peña was sworn in on Tuesday in a ceremony attended by a number of leaders and politicians, including Cohen. Following the ceremony, the Israeli foreign minister had a brief meeting with the president during which he invited the Paraguayan president to visit Israel and reopen the embassy.
“We’re continuing to strengthen the international status of Jerusalem as the eternal capital of the State of Israel,” Cohen said in a statement, noting that Peña had agreed to visit Israel for the reinauguration of the embassy.
“The opening of the Paraguayan embassy in Jerusalem along with the Israeli embassy in Asuncion will strengthen Israel’s regional and international position as well as the important ties between the countries. We will continue and strengthen the important historical connection with the countries of Latin America, which have long stood by the State of Israel and the Jewish people,” Cohen said.
Five years ago, Paraguay’s outgoing president Horacio Cartes said that he would move the country’s embassy to Jerusalem, but his successor Abdo Benitez moved the embassy back to Tel Aviv after just five months. Benitez claimed that the move would make it difficult for Paraguay to engage in a neutral approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
In response, then-Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded by closing the Israeli embassy in Paraguay.
If it follows through with the move, Paraguay will be the fifth country to open an embassy in the nation's capital Jerusalem, following Kosovo, Honduras, Guatemala and the United States.
The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.