September 6, 2018 / 8:52 PM / 2 months ago

Turkey to open Paraguay embassy after policy shift on Israeli capital

ASUNCION (Reuters) - Turkey will open an embassy in Asuncion, Paraguay, the South American country said on Thursday, a day after President Mario Abdo reversed the previous administration’s decision to move its diplomatic mission in Israel to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv.

Turkey’s ambassador to Paraguay has been operating out of Buenos Aires. Turkey has a consulate in Asuncion and another in Ciudad del Este, Paraguay.

By opening the embassy, Turkey is expressing support for Paraguay’s stance on Israel, Paraguay’s Foreign Minister Luis Castiglioni told reporters.

Paraguay and Guatemala relocated their embassies in Israel to Jerusalem after U.S. President Donald Trump recognised the city as the country’s capital in December. Hours after Paraguay’s new government announced on Wednesday it would move its embassy back to Tel Aviv from Jerusalem, Israel responded by ordering the closure of its embassy in Paraguay.

Most countries do not recognise Israeli sovereignty over the whole of Jerusalem, arguing that peace talks should determine the city’s final status. Paraguay cited this as one reason to move its embassy back to Tel Aviv.

Castiglioni said he expected to meet his Turkish counterpart at the United Nations General Assembly in New York this month.

Paraguay considers Israel’s decision to close its embassy hasty and disproportionate, and hopes Israeli authorities will reconsider, Castiglioni said.

Reporting by Daniela Desantis; Writing by Scott Squires; Editing by Richard Chang

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