Guatemala opened its embassy in Jerusalem on Wednesday morning, two days after the US moved its mission to the capital.
The Central American country’s president, Jimmy Morales, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu cut a blue-and-white ribbon, and later placed pieces of the ribbon in the pockets of their suit jackets.
“This is the beginning of something extraordinary, or I would say, the re-beginning of something extraordinary, which is the relationship between Guatemala and Israel,” Netanyahu said.
“Yesterday we opened the American embassy in Jerusalem, two days ago, and it’s not a coincidence that Guatemala is opening its embassy in Jerusalem right among the first. You are always among the first, always among the first,” Netanyahu went on, recalling that Guatemala was the second nation, after the US, that recognized the State of Israel in May 1948.
Netanyahu mentioned that there is a Guatemala Street, named in honor of the country’s former ambassador to the UN Jorge Garcia Granados.
Seventy-one years ago, Granados played a crucial role in convincing Latin American countries to vote in favor of General Assembly Resolution 181, which called for the partition of Mandatory Palestine into a Jewish state and an Arab state.
“We remember our friends, and Guatemala is our friend — then and now,” Netanyahu said.
“We share so many goals and values even though were are so far away,” he added, vowing to advance the bilateral relationship in “practical ways.”
“Judaism started in Jerusalem, Christianity started in Jerusalem and this is something that is a sharing principle that allows us to go forward to many, many areas of modernity, of technology, of prosperity, an alliance for prosperity,” Netanyahu said.
At the end of his brief speech, Netanyahu promised that his next trip to Latin America would include a stop in Guatemala, though he did not announce concrete travel plans.