Honduran president calls Jerusalem the Israeli capital, but not moving embassy yet

Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez has in recent months signalled that his government is mulling moving the Honduran embassy to Jerusalem.
Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez has in recent months signalled that his government is mulling moving the Honduran embassy to Jerusalem.PHOTO: REUTERS

TEGUCIGALPA (REUTERS) - Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez on Sunday (March 24) called Jerusalem Israel's capital, saying the Central American country would open an office there for trade and cooperation, but stopped short of announcing plans to move its embassy from Tel Aviv.

Mr Hernandez has in recent months signalled that his government is mulling moving the Honduran embassy to Jerusalem, and made his comments on the holy city during his appearance at a conference on United States-Israeli relations in Washington.

"Today, I have announced the first step, which is to open a trade office in Jerusalem, the capital of the state of Israel, and this will be an extension of our embassy in Tel Aviv," Mr Hernandez said in a statement issued by his government.

"I've said that a second step will draw a lot of attacks from the enemies of Israel and the United States, but we will continue along this path," he added.

Mr Hernandez' comments follow the formal recognition by US President Donald Trump of Jerusalem as the Israeli capital. Last May, Mr Trump moved the US embassy to the disputed city.

Mr Trump's move was criticsed by many foreign governments and caused anger among Palestinians, who with broad international backing seek East Jerusalem as the capital of a state they want to establish in the occupied West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

East Jerusalem is still considered occupied under international law, and the city's status is supposed to be decided as part of an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement.