Honduras negotiates with Israel to move embassy to Jerusalem


RIO DE JANEIRO (JTA) — Senior Honduran officials expressed their government’s willingness to move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, following in the footsteps of the United States and Guatemala.

“There is a negotiation, discussions with the Honduran authorities and for the moment no decision has been made,” Israeli Foreign Ministry Spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon said, the Prensa Libre news website reported. “These are still the first steps.”

The delegation discussed the issue with Israel’s Foreign Ministry Director-General Yuval Rotem, Israel’s Channel 2 television news reported Sunday. The officials also would hold “secret talks” with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, reported the Times of Israel.

Honduras expects Israel to reciprocate with its own changes, including upgrading the current Israeli consulate in Tegucigalpa to a full embassy –  at a cost of an estimated $1 million annually, and deepening bilateral trade. The Hondurans also are interested in getting advice from Israeli experts on crime fighting, water management, agriculture, and cyber issues.

Netanyahu, who holds the position of foreign minister, will land in Brazil on Friday for the inauguration of President-Elect Jair Bolsonaro next week. Netanyahu may meet with Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez, who also will be at the ceremony, to seal the Central American country’s embassy move. In November, Bolsonaro also made public his intention to move the Brazilian embassy to Jerusalem.

Earlier this year, Paraguay also announced its plan to move its embassy, but reversed the decision months later. Between 1984 and 2006, Costa Rica and El Salvador had their embassies in Jerusalem.

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