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Costa Rica to move embassy from Jerusalem

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Costa Rica to move embassy from Jerusalem

The president of Costa Rica, Oscar Arias, announced on Wednesday that his country is planning to transfer its embassy out of Israel's capital of Jerusalem to the city of Tel Aviv, The Associated Press reports.

"It is time to amend an historic mistake which harms our country in the international arena and prevents us from maintaining friendly ties with the Arab world and the culture of Islam," Arias, a former Nobel Peace Prize winner, said.

"We regret this decision by the government of Costa Rica," Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Mark Regev said on Thursday. "For many years, Israel and Costa Rica had a very special relationship."

After receiving a call from Israeli Vice Premier Shimon Peres following Tuesday's announcement, Arias said that the move was "not about offending the dear Israeli people with whom we have and will continue to have close ties." Arias continued, saying, "Even Israel's closest allies have preferred not to challenge international law by locating their embassies there."

Although the US Congress has enacted a law recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital, the White House and State Department have refused to implement it.

David Harris, director of the American Jewish Committee, said in a statement Wednesday, "Given the fact that Costa Rica is a shining light of democracy in Latin America, this action against another democracy, Israel, is particularly painful."
 
Once Costa Rica implements its planned move, the only national embassy left in the Israeli capital will be El Salvador, while Christians worldwide have representation through the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem.

 

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