JERUSALEM (JTA) — The Czech Republic will appoint an honorary consul in Jerusalem, the first in a three-step process to move the country’s embassy to Jerusalem.
Czech President Milos Zeman made the announcement on Wednesday at an event in honor of Israel’s 70th birthday.
The Czech Foreign Ministry in a statement issued Wednesday confirmed the move.
“The Czech Republic has decided to open in May an honorary consulate in West Jerusalem, and before the end of the year a Czech (cultural) center, also in West Jerusalem,” the statement said.
The third stage would be the moving of the embassy, for which no timetable was given.
“This step in no way prejudges the final agreement concerning Jerusalem,” the statement said. “The Czech Republic fully respects common policy of the European Union, which considers Jerusalem as the future capital of both the State of Israel and the future State of Palestine.”
Moving the embassy to Jerusalem would require the approval of the Czech government.
Opened in the early 1990s, the Czech honorary consulate in Jerusalem was closed in 2016 due to the death of the honorary consul, the French news agency AFP reported.
The Czech Embassy has been in Tel Aviv since 1949, though it remained closed during the former communist regime in Prague between 1967 and 1990.
Zeman said in December that he supported the U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital earlier that month and said Prague may follow suit, diverging with the position of his country’s Foreign Ministry.