NEW YORK (Mar. 19)
Uruguay stands ready to move its Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, the World Jewish Congress disclosed today, and American Jewish leaders told Egyptian President Hosni Mubark during their meeting last week of their dissatisfaction with Egyptian efforts to block the move, the W J C further reported.
Uruguay, like the majority of nations having diplomatic relations with Israel, currently maintains its Embassy in Tel Aviv. Following the recent election of a democratic regime in Uruguay, the government privately indicated through diplomatic channels that it would soon transfer its Embassy to Jerusalem.
Last year, Costa Rica and EI Salvador transferred their Embassies from Tel Aviv to the Israeli capital. At the time, the Egyptians responded sharply, first with warnings against the Embassy transfers and then with a break in diplomatic relations with each of the Central American countries.
According to a WJC spokesman, earlier this month the Uruguayan Ambassador in Cairo was summoned to the Egyptian Foreign Ministry where he was warned that the placement by Uruguay of its Embassy in Jerusalem would lead to a rupture of relations with Cairo. “During last week’s meeting in Washington between President Mubarak and two dozen American Jewish leaders, the Egyptian President was asked to comment on this regrettable development,” said Frieda Lewis, chairman of the WJC-American Section, who was at the meeting.
According to another participant, Mubarak sought to play down the incident and recalled the exchange of letters on the subject of Jerusalem between former Premier Menachem Begin and the late President Anwar Sadat. Mubarak said that the sensitivities of all parties regarding the Jerusalem issue had led the two former leaders to agree that the problem should be left for the end of the peace process. This, he said, accounted for the Egyptian response to any action which was seen as affecting the status of Jerusalem.