Honduras will relocate its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, and Israel will open an embassy in the Honduran capital of Tegucigalpa by the end of 2020, the Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement released early Monday.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Juan Orlando Hernandez spoke on the phone a day earlier, and reaffirmed their countries’ close ties and strategic partnerships, Netanyahu’s office said.
“Today, with their flags flying over each other’s capital cities, Israel and Honduras wish to announce the intention to complete the plan of action, before the end of this year, with the reciprocal opening and inauguration of their embassies in the national capitals, Tegucigalpa and Jerusalem,” the statement said.
Hernández congratulated Netanyahu on the historic peace agreements reached with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, which he said marked a “revolution of peace in the Middle East. He also expressed his wishes for the Jewish New Year.
Hernández on Twitter wrote: “We hope to take this historic step before the end of the year, so long as the pandemic allows it.”
Acabo de conversar con el Primer Ministro @netanyahu para afianzar nuestra alianza estratégica y acordar la apertura de las embajadas en Tegucigalpa y Jerusalén respectivamente.
Esperamos dar este paso histórico antes de fin de año, siempre y cuando la pandemia lo permita.
— Juan Orlando H. (@JuanOrlandoH) September 20, 2020
Matanya Cohen, Israel’s ambassador to Honduras and Guatemala, told Army Radio that initially it seemed there would be very little chance Honduras would agree to relocate its embassy to Jerusalem over concerns of pushback from its Palestinian community – the second-largest Palestinian diaspora in Latin America after Chile.
However, he said the move was accepted after clandestine discussions with parliamentarians, ministers and community lay leaders.
In March 2019, Honduras recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and on September 1st, 2019, opened its commercial office there in what was seen at the time as a possible prelude to an embassy relocation.
Honduras is one of the two countries in Latin America, and one of the five in the world, to frequently abstain from anti-Israel resolutions at the United Nations and was one of a handful of countries around the world that voted against the U.N. resolution opposing the U.S. embassy move to Jerusalem.
The news follows a series of diplomatic breakthroughs this month for Israel. Apart from the so-called Abraham Accords signed last week at a White House ceremony, several countries announced their intentions to open missions in Jerusalem. On September 8, Chad told Israel it plans to open an diplomatic mission in the Israeli capital within a year, making it the fourth country to do so in as many days.
Days earlier, Serbia and Kosovo, followed by Malawi, announced their plants to open a Jerusalem embassy.