Paraguay president, Mario Abdo Benitez

Paraguay returns its embassy from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv

PNN/ Jerusalem/

Paraguay on Wednesday has announced on Wednesday it will return its embassy to Israel from Jerusalem to tel Aviv, reversing decision taken months ago by the previous government.

Paraguay’s former President Horacio Cartes travelled to Jerusalem to inaugurate the embassy in May. But Cartes’ successor, Mario Abdo Benitez, also a member of the conservative Colorado party, took office last month and reversed the decision.

“Paraguay wants to contribute to an intensification of regional diplomatic efforts to achieve a broad, fair and lasting peace in the Middle East,” Foreign Minister Luis Alberto Castiglioni said on Wednesday.

“Paraguay is a country of principle,” Abdo said on Twitter. “We will always be respectful with international law,” he added.

In response to the decision, the Israeli prime minister’s office said Israel said it will close its embassy in Paraguay and recall its ambassador. 

On the other hand, Palestinian officials  said they will “immediately” open an embassy in Paraguay, Foreign Affairs Minister Riyad al-Maliki said, according to the official news agency Wafa.

Al-Maliki hailed Paraguay’s change of mind as “a new Palestinian diplomatic achievement”.

Senior PLO official, Saeb Erekat in a statement commended the decision to act in accordance with its obligations under international law by closing its embassy in Jerusalem and relocating it to Tel Aviv.

“President Abdo’s courageous decision shows that the government of Asunción has chosen to go back to the traditional Latin American position of respect for international law and UN resolutions,” Erekat said.

Erekat callced upon the countries that have supported us, especially within the Arab League and the OIC, to look together into ways to encourage cooperation and bilateral relations with Paraguay.