Ecuador Follows Venezuela, Uruguay to Move Its Embassy from Jerusalem

Ecuador yesterday become the third South American country to announce it will move its embassy from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv in the wake of the new Israeli law formally declaring-united Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. As did Venezuela and Uruguay in announcing their decisions earlier, Ecuador insisted that its friendship for Israel is unchanged by the move.

Dr. Wilson Vela Hervas, Ecuador’s Ambassador, said that the move was based on a principle of his country’s foreign policy which is not to recognize the acquisition of territory by force. He indignantly rejected a suggestion that the move was due to Arab pressure. “I have not heard anything about Arab threats or pressure on Israel, ” he said. “We have only a handful of citizens of Arab extraction.”

But the Israel Foreign Ministry, in expressing its regret today over the announced move, disagreed. “It’s reasonable to assume that Ecuador did yield to Arab pressure as there is nothing in the text of the Jerusalem bill that changes an existing situation or warrants such a move by Ecuador, ” a Ministry spokesman said. He said he hoped that Ecuador will change its mind even though Hervas officially presented the Ecuadoran decision to the Foreign Ministry today.

ANNOUNCEMENT EXPECTED FROM OTHER COUNTRIES

In talking to reporters last night, the Ecuadoran envoy stressed that Tel Aviv is also Israel and he would be visiting Jerusalem frequently both in his official capacity and to maintain his social contacts.

Meanwhile, announcements are expected here from three other Latin American countries with embassies in Jerusalem — Chile, Bolivia and Colombia. However, Colombian Ambassador Cesar Castro Pardomo told reporters here, “We have sufficient oil and any decision taken by my government will not be based on threats of oil cuts.”

However, the real concern here is whether Holland, the only West European country with an embassy in Jerusalem, will also move its embassy to Tel Aviv. The Dutch have come under heavy Arab pressure and the government in Amsterdam is presently considering the question. Meanwhile, a group of Jews who immigrated here from Holland demonstrated outside the Dutch Embassy in Jerusalem today urging that it not be moved.

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