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Hungary's Embassy to Remain in Tel Aviv

Hungary's Embassy to Remain in Tel Aviv

Thursday, 21 March, 2019 - 07:45
A man walks next to a road sign directing to the US embassy in Jerusalem, February 18, 2019. Picture taken February 18, 2019 REUTERS/Ammar Awad
Tel Aviv - Asharq Al-Awsat
Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs Peter Szijjarto announced that his country opened a new commercial office in West Jerusalem, but stressed that moving Hungary’s Israel embassy to the city is not on the agenda.

Szijjarto, said in an interview with Israel Hayom newspaper on Wednesday, that the opening of the trade office aims at bolstering ties with Israel but stops short of moving the embassy to Jerusalem to be in conformity with the European Union’s policy.

The right-wing newspaper criticized that four weeks after the pledge of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban to open a diplomatic office in Jerusalem, the trade office was inaugurated in a humble ceremony in the attendance of US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, US Ambassador to Hungary David Cornstein and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Responding to a question on whether this step is a recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, Szijjarto said: “I would like to stress that our embassy is in Tel Aviv, and there are no plans to change this.”

US President Donald Trump in December 2017 drew criticism worldwide when he recognized Jerusalem as the Israeli capital.

His country's embassy moved to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv the following May.

Guatemala was the first country to follow in America's footsteps.

Since then, Netanyahu’s government has been seeking to pressure other countries to do so.

Despite Netanyahu’s efforts, the EU held onto its stance. Countries such as Hungary, Romania, and Austria that had intended to relocate their embassies had to stick to the EU policy on rejecting embassy moves.

The Czech Republic has only opened a cultural center in Jerusalem. The Philippines had initially vowed to follow the same path but didn’t go ahead with it. Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro made similar statements that he wanted to move his country’s embassy to Jerusalem but he is not likely to make such an announcement during his anticipated visit to Israel end of this month.

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