(GUATEMALA CITY) — Guatemala’s president announced on Christmas Eve that the Central American country will move its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, becoming the first nation to follow the lead of U.S. President Donald Trump in ordering the change.
Guatemala was one of nine nations that voted with the United States and Israel on Thursday when the U.N. General Assembly overwhelmingly adopted a non-binding resolution denouncing Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
In a post on his official Facebook account Sunday, Morales said that after talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, he decided to instruct Guatemala’s foreign ministry to move the embassy.
Trump upended decades of U.S. policy with his Dec. 6 announcement that he was recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Though Trump said he was merely recognizing reality and not prejudging negotiations on the future borders of the city, Palestinians saw the move as siding with Israel on the most sensitive issue in the Israel-Palestinian conflict.
Israel claims all of Jerusalem as its capital, while the Palestinians claim the city’s eastern sector, which was captured by Israel in 1967 and is home to sensitive religious Jewish, Muslim and Christian sites. Many governments have long said that the fate of Jerusalem must be resolved through negotiations.