Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales (AIPAC) (AIPAC)
Jimmy Morales

The first to follow America’s lead, Guatemalan President Morales announced that his country’s embassy will move from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in May.

By: United with Israel Staff

Guatemala will move its embassy to Jerusalem in May, two days after the US makes the same move.

Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales addressed the annual American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) Policy Conference in Washington on Sunday, during which he announced that his country’s embassy will move from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem on May 16, two days after the US moves its embassy to Israel’s capital.

“I would like to thank President Trump for leading the way. His courageous decision has encouraged us to do what is right,” Morales told AIPAC.

Both moves will coincide with Israel’s 70th Independence Day celebrations.

Israel’s Ynet news reported that Guatemala has already started to look for a location for its embassy in Jerusalem. In unofficial talks, it has asked Israel to help fund the move, and Israel is expected to comply with the request.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in Washington for the AIPAC conference, met with Morales on Sunday and thanked him “for everything you’re doing, for recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.”

Morales replied that “it is an honor and it is the right thing to do.”

The two discussed deepening bilateral ties and cooperation, while Morales invited Netanyahu to visit his country. Netanyahu thanked him for the invitation and reciprocated by inviting him to Israel.

Shortly after taking office in 2015, Morales, a devout evangelical Christian, visited a synagogue in Guatemala City, where he announced his intention to visit Israel. He made the historic trip in November 2016.

The US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley on Wednesday thanked Guatemala for supporting President Donald Trump’s decision to move the US Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.

Guatemala was one of the nine nations to vote against a United Nations resolution that condemned the US for Trump’s historic recognition of Jerusalem.

Morales met in Washington in early February with Trump, who at the time also expressed gratitude for his support on the embassy move.

Guatemala has supported the creation of the State of Israel and was the second country to recognize it, after the US.

AP contributed to this report.