Flag of Guatemala
Flag of Guatemala iStock

Guatemala’s Foreign Minister stressed on Wednesday that the United States did not pressure her country into announcing it will move its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.

"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," the minister, Sandra Jovel, told a news conference in Guatemala City, according to AFP.

Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales announced on Sunday that he was ordering his country's embassy to move from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, following a conversation with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

His moved followed U.S. President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Morales’s declaration made Guatemala the first country to follow Trump's footsteps on Jerusalem.

Guatemala, like the United States, has not said when its embassy move would happen.

On Tuesday, Jovel said Guatemala’s decision to move the embassy was a "sovereign" matter that should not affect ties with other countries.

"These are Guatemala's foreign policy and sovereign decisions. In any case, we are open to being able to converse with countries that see it as such, but I don't believe it will create any sort of problem with other countries," she said.

Last week, two-thirds of UN member states – 128 in all – rejected Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital. Just nine countries voted against the UN General Assembly resolution, Guatemala being one of them.

Other countries abstained or did not enter a vote.

As was the case with Trump’s announcement, the Guatemalan move was met with anger in the Arab world.

The Palestinian Authority said the announcement was “a shameful and illegal act that goes totally against the wishes of church leaders in Jerusalem.”

"The state of Palestine considers this as a flagrant act of hostility against the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people and international law," it added.

Jordan’s State Minister for Media Affairs, Mohammad Al-Momani, said the decision is “a flagrant violation of international law.

The Jordanian Foreign Minister, Ayman Safadi, described the Guatemalan move as an “absurd provocation”.