Paraguay to reopen embassy in Israel

After eight years, Paraguay will reopen its Israeli embassy Deputy Foreign Minister Ze’ev Elkin announces.

Paraguay's President Horacio Cartes 370 (photo credit: REUTERS)
Paraguay's President Horacio Cartes 370
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Paraguay, which closed its embassy in Israel in 2005 for budgetary reasons, will reopen its mission here in the coming weeks in a sign of interest in closer bilateral ties, the Foreign Ministry announced on Thursday.
Newly elected Paraguayan President Horacio Cartes informed Deputy Foreign Minister Ze’ev Elkin of the move on Wednesday during a meeting in Asuncion.
Elkin represented Israel at his inauguration ceremony on Thursday.
Israel closed its embassy in Asuncion in 2002 as a cost-saving move, and is represented in the South American country by its ambassador in Buenos Aires.
A Foreign Ministry spokesman said that, despite the Paraguayan announcement, Israel had no intention at this time of reopening its embassy in Paraguay.
“We are closing consulates and embassies, not opening them,” the official said, adding that the decision to open a consulate in the Chinese city of Chengdu will necessitate the closing of a mission somewhere else.
Elkin’s office quoted Cartes as saying that he was interested in strengthening bilateral relations with Israel as well as pursuing an “independent” policy of supporting Israel in international forums, as opposed to the voting patterns of the vast majority of Latin American states.
Paraguay and Colombia were the only South American countries that did not vote for granting the Palestinians non-member statehood status in the UN General Assembly last year.
Elkin is scheduled to travel on Friday to Brazil, where he will meet with Foreign Minister Antonio Patriota next week. Patriota, who met with US Secretary of State John Kerry on Tuesday, slammed Israel for settlement construction at a joint press conference with Kerry.