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May 21, 2018 7:30 am

Paraguay Opens Israel Embassy in Jerusalem

avatar by Reuters and Algemeiner Staff

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Paraguayan President Horacio Cartes walks next to Israeli President Reuven Rivlin upon his arrival for a meeting at the Israeli president’s residence in Jerusalem, ahead of the dedication ceremony of the embassy of Paraguay in Jerusalem, May 21, 2018. Photo: Reuters / Ronen Zvulun.

Paraguay opened its Israel embassy in Jerusalem on Monday, the second country to follow the United States in making the politically sensitive move from Tel Aviv.

Paraguayan President Horacio Cartes and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attended the inauguration ceremony. The United States relocated its embassy to Jerusalem a week ago. It was followed by Guatemala on Wednesday.

“This is a historic day that strengthens ties between Paraguay and Israel,” Cartes said at the ceremony.

“A great day for Israel. A great day for Paraguay. A great day for our friendship,” Netanyahu responded. “You have not only the support of our government but the profound gratitude of the people Israel.”

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Hanan Ashrawi, an official of the Palestine Liberation Organization, denounced Paraguay’s move.

“By adopting such a provocative and irresponsible measure that is in direct contravention of international law and consensus, Paraguay has conspired with Israel, the United States, and Guatemala to entrench the military occupation and to seal the fate of occupied Jerusalem,” Ashrawi said in a statement.

In December, US President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, reversing decades of American policy.

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