Guatemala envoy scopes out sites for Jerusalem embassy

Israel Labor leader calls for 'demilitarized' Palestine

In February, Morales received a prestigious award from the Israel Allies Foundation in Jerusalem for his December announcement that Guatemala would return its embassy to Israel's capital.

Last year, Morales announced it would follow the moving its embassy, and in a speech Sunday before the annual AIPAC Policy Conference, he said the move will happen as Israel celebrates its founding.

USA ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley on Wednesday thanked Morales for his support on the Jerusalem question.

In a statement on the official Palestinian news agency WAFA, it called on Arab and Islamic nations "to take a firm stand against this move, which violates worldwide law".

The status of Jerusalem is one of the thorniest obstacles to forging a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians, who want East Jerusalem as their capital. Guatemala is among a mere handful of countries to openly support Trump's controversial embassy move and vote against a United Nations resolution condemning the relocation.

"In May of this year, we will celebrate Israel's 70th anniversary, and under my instructions, two days after the U.S. moves its embassy, Guatemala will return and permanently move its embassy to Jerusalem", said Morales. Israel's sovereignty over the whole of Jerusalem is unrecognized by most of the global community. The protests intensified when he tried to block the investigations at all costs and declared the head of the International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala, Ivan Velazquez, persona non grata.

He also ordered his country to vote against the United Nations rejection of President Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

Spokesman Santiago Palomo told AFP that the high court's five magistrates turned down a request from lawyer Marco Vinicio Mejia, who argued in a petition filed in January that the embassy move was contrary to global law.

The two discussed deepening bilateral ties and cooperation.

After the United Nations vote in December, Morales stated: "Guatemala is historically pro-Israeli. We have a Christian way of thinking that, as well as the politics of it, has us believing that Israel is our ally and we must support it".

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