Guatemalan Embassy in Jerusalem
Guatemalan Embassy in Jerusalem Reuters

The White House on Thursday praised Guatemala for relocating its Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem and encouraged other countries to follow suit.

“The United States welcomes the move of the Guatemalan Embassy to Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem,” said a statement from the White House press secretary.

“We thank our Western Hemisphere partner for joining us in recognizing Israel’s capital and encourage additional moves. By being the first head of state to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and to open an embassy there on May 14, 2018, President Trump reprised the role President Truman played 70 years ago when he was the first to recognize the State of Israel.”

“We look forward to welcoming many more of our friends and allies in Jerusalem, the capital of Israel,” concluded the statement.

Guatemala unveiled its new Jerusalem embassy on Wednesday, two days after the U.S. relocated its embassy to Jerusalem.

Guatemala’s President Jimmy Morales and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu both took part in the opening ceremony in south Jerusalem’s Malha Technology Park.

Morales confirmed at the AIPAC Policy Conference in March that his country will move its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem on May 16.

Guatemalan Foreign Minister Sandra Jovel later defended her country's "sovereign" decision to relocate its embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

"We are doing the right thing in accordance with the foreign policy that Guatemala has had toward Israel over the past 70 years," Jovel said, adding that the move is "a sovereign decision of Guatemalan foreign policy.”

In addition to the U.S. and Guatemala, Paraguay announced on Thursday that it will open an embassy in Israel's capital next Tuesday.