PM praises Guatemalan president-elect as ‘friend of Israel’

"He is a friend of Israel and I am convinced that together we will strengthen the excellent cooperation between the countries,” Netanyahu said in a statement.

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August 14, 2019 03:36
1 minute read.
Presidential candidate Alejandro Giammattei of "VAMOS" political party talks to the media following

Presidential candidate Alejandro Giammattei of "VAMOS" political party talks to the media following the first round of presidential election, as he walks towards the official voting result center in Guatemala City, Guatemala June 17, 2019.. (photo credit: REUTERS)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday congratulated Alejandro Giammattei for winning Monday’s election in Guatemala, calling him a “friend of Israel.”

“I congratulate Alejandro Giammattei on his election as President of Guatemala. He is a friend of Israel, and I am convinced that together, we will strengthen the excellent cooperation between the countries,” he said in a statement.

Outgoing Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales moved the country’s embassy to Israel last May, following the US move, and there was some concern in Jerusalem that elections in the Central American country could lead to a reversal of that decision. Paraguay also moved its embassy to Jerusalem last May, but moved it back out of the capital in September following the elections of its new president.

Netanyahu also thanked Morales, saying that, “During his tenure, relations between Israel and Guatemala reached new heights.” He thanked him for “his correct and brave decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and to move the Guatemalan Embassy there.”
The conservative Giammattei defeated former first lady Sandra Torres, who represented a center-left party.

Last month, Giammattei said in an interview published by the Israel Allies Foundation that “He who is Israel’s enemy, is Guatemala’s enemy.”

During that interview, he said that he would keep his country’s embassy in Jerusalem, and also take action to designate Hezbollah as a terrorist group.

Israel’s ambassador to Guatemala, Matanya Cohen, tweeted a congratulatory message to Giammattei on Monday, to which the president-elect replied in a tweet: “Thankyou @MattanyaCohen I am sure that the relations of cooperation and friendship between #Israel and #Guatemala will be stronger.”


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