Paraguay President Santiago Peña on Tuesday publicly reconfirmed a desire he’s had for years: to move the Paraguayan Embassy to Israel back to Jerusalem. And he wants to do it soon.
“Almost three years ago I visited Jerusalem,” Peña was quoted as saying in an Israeli recap of a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the United Nations in New York. “I was just a politician dreaming about a different Paraguay. I said to yourself in that meeting that Paraguay will reopen and will put the embassy where it belongs, in the city of Jerusalem.
“So I’m very proud, Mr. Prime Minister, to make this announcement and make it possible as soon as possible.”
The South American nation had previously informed Israel of the move, which comes five years after Paraguay undid a prior embassy move to Jerusalem by shifting it back to Tel Aviv. In response, Israel closed its embassy in Paraguay’s capital, a move Netanyahu said they would be reversing this year as well.
“The most important thing we’re going to do right away is to reopen the Paraguayan Embassy in Jerusalem and to reopen the Israeli Embassy in Asuncion,” said Netanyahu in the Israeli press release. Once the move occurs, Paraguay will be the sixth nation to have their embassy in Jerusalem, joining the United States, Guatemala, Honduras, Kosovo, and Papua New Guinea.
On Tuesday, Netanyahu added the embassy move would be “alongside a general plan to lift up our relations in many ways.”
One key way Paraguay can express their “friendly relations” with Israel is by showing support for Israel in international forums, Netanyahu said. While he didn’t specify which forums, the UN—where he was speaking with Peña—would be a notable place to start. For their part, Netanyahu said Israel would be “pleased” to assist Paraguay in other fields, particularly the cyber realm.
The embassy discussion came at a good time: The two nations are also celebrating the 75th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between them. In the Israeli summary of Netanyahu’s comments with Peña, he said he would “continue to lead a strategic change in Israel’s relations with the countries of Latin America” and added he plans to lead Israel-Paraguay relations “to new heights.”
Peña also has plans to advance relations between the countries. Said the South American leader, “Our history brought us together; the present brings us together; but the future will have us closer [than] we’ve been ever before.”
(By Joshua Spurlock, www.themideastupdate.com, September 19, 2023)