Paraguay set to return Israel embassy to Jerusalem
Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen on Wednesday said the Latin American country will transfer its embassy to the city in 2023. Israel will also restore its embassy in the Paraguayan capital of Asunción.
It comes after Cohen met Peña after he was sworn in as Paraguayan president on Tuesday. The country's new leader committed to returning its mission to Jerusalem during his presidential campaign.
Cohen said: "The opening of the Paraguayan embassy in Jerusalem along with the Israeli embassy in Asunción will strengthen Israel's regional and international position as well as the important ties between the countries.
"We will continue to strengthen the important historical connection with the countries of Latin America, which have long stood by the State of Israel and the Jewish people."
Israel is keen to drum up support for its claim that Jerusalem is its capital. However, the city's eastern sector is recognised as occupied Palestinian territory by the United Nations.
Palestinians see East Jerusalem, which was occupied by Israel in 1967, as the capital city of their future independent state.
Should Paraguay proceed with moving its embassy to Jerusalem, it will be only the fifth state to do so.
Countries with embassies in the city include the US and two other Latin American nations – Honduras and Guatemala.
Most countries maintain their embassies in the Tel Aviv area to avoid giving support to Israel's claims to sovereignty over Jerusalem.
Paraguay relocated its embassy from the wealthy Herzilya Pituach area near Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in 2018.
However, after former President Mario Abdo Benitez took power later that year, it abandoned the Jerusalem move. In response, Israel shut its Asunción embassy.