Wednesday, 23 October, 2019

Paraguay's Benitez: Israel's decision to close embassy 'regrettable'

Paraguay's Benitez: Israel's decision to close embassy 'regrettable' Paraguay's Benitez: Israel's decision to close embassy 'regrettable'
Patty Aguilar | 09 September, 2018, 17:00

Secretary General of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Saeb Erekat on Thursday blasted U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman's statement over the Palestinian cause.

It is no secret that the new Paraguayan President Mario Abdo Benitez is the one who ordered the review of the hasty decision of his country to relocate its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in the wake of the United States move and has taken the bold decision to correct a wrong that should not have been made in the first place.

President Mario Abdo Benitez, who took office on August 15, made a decision to move the embassy back "to contribute to the intensification of regional and worldwide diplomatic efforts that aim to achieve a broad, just and durable peace in the Middle East", his government said.

Here is the statement from the White House, "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".

Shortly after Paraguay's announcement, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu immediately closed Israel's embassy in Asuncion and recalled its diplomats.

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According to various sources in Israel, the Palestinians exerted great pressure on the government of Mario Abdo Benitez to reverse the decision of former President Horacio Cartes.

He said Paraguay would "stick to global law and the United Nations' resolution that still considers it a territory in conflict" between Israel and the Palestinians.

The United States moved its embassy to Jerusalem on May 14, five months after recognizing Jerusalem as capital of Israel. "The reaction of closing the embassy was a little exaggerated and we urge authorities to reconsider it", Abdo Benitez said at a news conference in Itapua, 273 miles (440 kilometers) south of Asuncion.

The measure was widely criticized within Paraguay, and Paraguay's Foreign Minister Luis Alberto Castiglioni described it as "unilateral, visceral and without justification". Israel captured east Jerusalem in the 1967 Mideast war along with the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, territories the Palestinians want for their future state.

The memorial ceremony took place at the only 9/11 memorial outside the United States-a 30-foot-high bronze sculpture created by Israeli artist Eliezer Weishoff and landscape architect Yechiel Cohen.

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