JERUSALEM (Aug. 17)
Costa Rico’s Ambassador to Israel, Fernandes Pinto, denied today that his country has decided to join other Latin American countries and move its embassy from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv. The envoy was reacting to medic reports that his country would follow Venezuela and Uruguay, which have already decided to move their embassies in protest against the Jerusalem law and the decision to move the Prime Minister’s Office to East Jerusalem.
The Foreign Ministry also said it was not aware that Costa Rica was planning to move its embassy. According to rumors here, Ecuador, the Dominican Republic and Colombia were also planning to move their embassies, but there was no confirmation of that rumor.
Foreign Minister Yitzhak Shamir blamed Arab oil pressure for triggering Uruguay’s decision to move its embassy. Arab oil pressure is a danger to the entire civilized world, Shamir said in a radio interview, not just to Israel. Very few countries can resist this intense pressure, which is becoming stronger every day, he said.
After Venezuela and Uruguay move their embassies to Tel Aviv only 11 embassies will remain in Jerusalem, with Holland the only non-Latin American country among them. Holland is expected to discuss the issue this week.
Uruguay’s Ambassador in Jerusalem, Prof. Bautista Etcheverry Boggio, told reporters over the weekend that recent Israeli moves in Jerusalem, particularly the new law, “unilaterally change the legal status of Jerusalem and have introduced new factors which forced Uruguay to assess with greater care the continued location of the embassy in the city.”
DIFFICULTY WITH SWITZERLAND
An unexpected diplomatic difficulty arose today with Switzerland. That country postponed the signing of a financial agreement with Israel. The signing ceremony was to take place at the office of the Welfare Minister this week — but the Swiss have asked to postpone the ceremony due “to a technical delay.” However, sources in Jerusalem expressed concern that Switzerland, too, was waiting for the outcome of the Jerusalem debate in the United Nations Security Council before taking any step that could be interpreted as indirect support for Israel.