Honduras agrees to advance embassy relocation

Joint statement by Israel, Honduras and US says sides will pursue plan of action to open embassies in Tegucigalpa and Jerusalem.

Elad Benari,

Netanyahu meets with President of Honduras, Juan Orlando Hernández
Netanyahu meets with President of Honduras, Juan Orlando Hernández
Kobi Gideon/GPO

Honduras is discussing moving its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem with Israel and the United States, officials confirmed on Tuesday night, following a trilateral meeting between Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

According to a joint statement released by the State Department, during the meeting "it was agreed to strengthen political relations and coordinate cooperation on development in Honduras.”

The three leaders “also agreed to pursue a plan of action, which includes meetings in their three respective capitals, to advance in the process of the decision to open embassies in both Tegucigalpa and Jerusalem," the statement added.

Earlier on Tuesday, Netanyahu’s office released a statement saying the Prime Minister “discussed advancing the opening of the two embassies, in Jerusalem and Honduras” with Hernandez and Pompeo.

Netanyahu also met separately with Honduran President Hernandez, said the statement.

The meeting took place in Brasilia on the sidelines of the presidential inauguration of new Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro.

Lawmakers in Honduras backed the embassy move in April, passing a non-binding resolution calling on Hernandez to follow the US and Guatemala in moving their embassies to Jerusalem.

A report last week indicated that the Hernandez administration is prepared to move the Honduran embassy to Jerusalem, provided that Israel reciprocate with its own changes vis-à-vis its relationship with Honduras.

Chief among the Honduran requests is the call for Israel to upgrade its diplomatic mission in Honduras by opening a full embassy. At present, Israel only maintains a consulate in Tegucigalpa.

The cost of maintaining a full-fledged embassy has been estimated at one million dollars a year.

Other demands include closer economic ties, as well as technical assistance from Israel.

Last December, US President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital and, five months later, moved the US embassy there. Guatemala followed suit.

Bolsonaro announced after his election that he intended to uphold his campaign promise and move the Brazilian embassy to Jerusalem.

Netanyahu later hailed Bolsonaro's announcement. Arab leaders, however, have condemned the move and have pressured Bolsonaro not to go through with it.




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