Sr. Juan Orlando Hernandez

Honduras will move its embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem by the end of the year, President Juan Orlando Hernandez announced on Sunday, two years after the US took the same controversial step.

Writing on Twitter, the president said the move had been agreed on with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and that Israel would also open an embassy in the Honduran capital Tegucigalpa for the first time.

Honduras had already opened a diplomatic office in Jerusalem in September last year, at the same time officially recognizing the city as the capital of Israel.

US President Donald Trump announced in December 2017 that the US would unilaterally recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and moved its own embassy there from Tel Aviv the following year.

Both steps were sharply criticized by much of the international community, which does not regard Jerusalem’s status as settled until peace talks with the Palestinians are concluded.

Israel claims the entire city as its capital, while the Palestinians want East Jerusalem to be the capital of their future state.

Honduras’ Central American neighbour Guatemala also moved its embassy to Jerusalem in 2018, shortly after the US.

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