Guatemala to follow Trump's lead with Jerusalem embassy move

Guatemala to follow Trump's lead with Jerusalem embassy move
2 min read
25 December, 2017
Guatemala is set to become the first country to follow US President Donald Trump's controversial Jerusalem embassy move.
Israel hailed Morales' decision as a sign of Guatemala and Israel's 'true friendship' [AFP]

Guatemala is set to follow the United States in moving its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, the country's president announced on Monday.

President Jimmy Morales announced the move on his official Facebook page on Christmas Eve, saying that the decision followed talks with Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

Israel's Foreign Ministry hailed the decision as a sign of the "true friendship" between Guatemala and Israel.

The central American country was one of nine states who opposed the non-binding UN general assembly resolution passed on Thursday, which denounced US President Donald Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

An overwhelming majority of 128 countries backed the resolution, despite the US threatening that it would withdraw aid and "list" the names of states that opposed Washington in the vote.

Thirty-five countries abstained from the vote and 21 stayed away.

Following the vote, US envoy to the UN, Nikki Haley, said that the result "will make a difference on how Americans look at the UN and on how we look at countries who disrespect us in the UN, and this vote will be remembered."

Netanyahu also blasted the decision and described the UN as a "house of lies."

Morales, who reaffirmed support for Trump's decision with his announcement on Monday, has also had a rocky relationship with the UN.

Earlier this year, the Guatemalan leader was entangled in a bitter dispute with the UN, after a UN-backed anti-corruption body attempted to impeach him.

Morales managed to cling onto power and launched an abortive attempt to have the head of the body expelled from Guatemala.