Paraguay opens new embassy in Jerusalem
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Paraguay opens new embassy in Jerusalem

Paraguay President Horacio Manuel Cartes Jara, left, meeting with Israeli Prime Minister in Jerusalem, July 19, 2016. (Emil Salman/Pool/Flash90)

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Paraguay opened its new embassy in Jerusalem, a week after the United States moved its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Paraguay’s President Horacio Cartes was in Jerusalem on Monday for the official dedication of the embassy, located in the Technological Park of southern Jerusalem’s Malha neighborhood. The Guatemalan embassy opened in the same neighborhood on May 16.

Cartes and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu unveiled the official plaque for the building.

Paraguay previously had an embassy in a Jerusalem suburb, which was closed on 2012 in retaliation for Israel closing its diplomatic mission in the Paraguayan capital of Asuncion as part of a round of budget cuts. A new Paraguayan embassy opened a      year later in the coastal city of Herzliya.

Cartes, who will leave office in mid-August when a new government takes over, announced late last month during an event in the capital Asuncion marking Israel’s 70th Independence Day that he planned to move the embassy before the end of his term. It is not known if Cartes consulted with President-elect Mario Abdo Benítez before announcing the move.

“This occasion is of special significance because it expresses the sincere friendship and brave solidarity between Paraguay and Israel,” Cartes said at the dedication.

“From the depth of my heart, I appreciate this country that courageously defends its right to live in peace and it is building a praiseworthy economically prosperous state that ensures its future and that of its children,” he added.

Netanyahu called it: “a great day for Israel, a great day for Paraguay, a great day for our friendship. You’ve done much for your country, much for your country, and now you you’re doing something for both our countries.”

He added that Paraguay has done much for the Jewish people, including help Jews escape Nazi Germany, support the creation of the state of Israel, and supports Israel in international forums.

“We remember our friends. We have no better friends than you. Thank you, Horacio. Thank you, Paraguay,” Netanyahu concluded.