Vice President Mike Pence on Thursday urged Paraguay to keep its embassy in Jerusalem, according to a press release issued by the Vice President’s office after Paraguayan President Abdo Benitez announced plans to kill his predecessor’s plan.
“Vice President Mike Pence spoke yesterday with President Mario Abdo Benitez of Paraguay to discuss Asuncion’s recent announcement to delay the official move of its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem,” the press release stated. “The Vice President strongly encouraged President Abdo Benitez to follow through with Paraguay’s previous commitment to move the embassy as a sign of the historic relationship the country has maintained with both Israel and the United States.”
“President Abdo Benitez underscored Paraguay’s lasting partnership with Israel and the leaders agreed to work towards achieving a compressive and lasting solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Vice President Pence also congratulated President Abdo Benitez on his inauguration in August and welcomed the opportunity for more dialogue between the two countries.”
Former Paraguayan President Horacio Cartes last May visited Israel especially in order to open the new embassy in Jerusalem, following similar moves by the US and Guatemala. But Cartes left office on August 15, and his successor, who comes from the same conservative Colorado party, this week announced he would reverse the embassy decision.
Palestinian Authority officials on Thursday praised Paraguay’s decision. Saeb Erekat, secretary-general of the Executive Committee of the PLO, rejoiced: “We commend Paraguay’s 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 Asuncion has chosen to go back to the traditional Latin American position of respect for international law and UN resolutions.”