The mostly Christian country of Papua New Guinea plans to open an embassy in Jerusalem, its Foreign Minister Justin Tkachenko confirmed to his Israeli counterpart on Sunday.
“I thank Papua New Guinea for the close relationship, the overwhelming support at international institutions and the decision to establish an embassy in Jerusalem,” Foreign Minister Eli Cohen said.
“This is further evidence of the warm and important relationship between the countries,” he added.
שבוע טוב עם בשורות טובות.עוד שגרירות עולה לירושלים pic.twitter.com/wuOl3TQN45— אלי כהן | Eli Cohen (@elicoh1) February 26, 2023
Cohen's office publicized details of the call on Sunday, even though the two men spoke of the matter on Wednesday.
Papua New Guinea is latest to open embassy in Jerusalem
The opening of an Embassy in Jerusalem is still viewed as a highly contentious one by the international diplomatic community, given that only a small number of countries recognize that Jerusalem is part of Israel’s sovereign territory and even fewer recognize that its the country’s capital.
Former US President Donald Trump had led the charge in attempting to change international consensus on the matter, declaring in 2017 that Jerusalem was Israel’s capital and relocating the embassy there one year later.
Only Guatemala, Honduras and Kosovo have followed suit. But some countries have opened trade offices in Israel, by way of giving a nod in the direction of recognizing Israeli ties to Jerusalem.
This includes Australia, Brazil, Columbia, the Czech Republic, Ecuador, Georgia, Hungary, Paraguay, Serbia, Slovakia, Ukraine and Uruguay.
Cohen on Sunday said that “We at the Foreign Ministry will continue to work to transfer more diplomatic missions to the city of Jerusalem, the eternal capital of the people of Israel.”
Israel, Papua New Guinea's diplomatic relations
Israel and Papua New Guinea established diplomatic relations in 1978, but the Jerusalem mission will be its first embassy in Israel.
Tkachenko had spoken already in January of wanting to open an embassy in Jerusalem and he repeated that pledge when he spoke with Cohen, explaining that it would be inaugurated this year.
The two men also spoke about improving bilateral ties, including economic cooperation.