19 September 2018

Czech embassy move to Jerusalem

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Czech leaders on Wednesday endorsed moving the country’s embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, following a similar move by the US administration earlier this year. reports citing the Times of Israel.

In a joint statement, the Czech president, the prime minister, parliament speaker and the foreign and defense ministers said the opening of a “Czech House” there in November would be “the first step in the plan to move the Czech embassy to Jerusalem.”

Jiri Ovcacek, spokesman for President Milos Zeman, told AFP that the Czech House would shelter government institutions including the foreign ministry’s Czech Center, the trade agency CzechTrade and tourism agency CzechTourism.

“The Czech House in Jerusalem will be ceremonially opened by Mr. President during his visit to Israel in November,” he said.

Zeman, a 73-year-old veteran left-winger known for his staunch pro-Israel stance, promoted the embassy move even before US President Donald Trump moved the US embassy to Jerusalem on May 14.

The European Union, of which the Czech Republic is a member, opposed the US embassy move, which Brussels says should occur only after the final status of Jerusalem is determined under a two-state Israeli-Palestinian peace deal.

Zeman later said the reopening of the honorary consulate was part of an open-ended effort to move the Czech diplomatic missions to Jerusalem that would culminate with the relocation of its embassy.

Trump broke with decades of policy in moving the US embassy to Jerusalem earlier this year, infuriating Palestinians who see the eastern section of the city as the capital of a future state. The move ruptured generations of international consensus that Jerusalem’s status should be settled as part of a two-state deal between Israel and the Palestinians.

Fuming at the move, the PA recalled its envoys to Romania, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Austria, whose ambassadors attended an Israeli reception marking the embassy move.

2018.09.13 / 10:35
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