Costa Rica moves embassy to Tel Aviv

President: Decision was necessary to mend relations with Arab nations.

costa rica prez 298.88 (photo credit: AP)
costa rica prez 298.88
(photo credit: AP)
Costa Rica opened its embassy in Tel Aviv Friday, relocating its diplomatic mission after 24 years in Jerusalem, the foreign minister said in a statement. President Oscar Arias has said the move was needed to bring the Central American nation into line with international law and mend relations with Arab nations. Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, but most nations don't formally recognize it as such. Since 1982, Costa Rica and El Salvador have been the only two countries with embassies there. In August, both countries announced their decisions to relocate to Tel Aviv. "It's time to rectify a historical error that damages us on the international level and deprives us of any friendship with the Arab world," Arias said at the time. Israel criticized the decision, saying it could be interpreted as a surrender to terrorism. Israel captured the eastern section of Jerusalem in the 1967 Six Day War and annexed it a few days later, declaring that the city Israel's capital. Palestinians, meanwhile, want east Jerusalem to be the capital of a future state. Costa Rica's decision to move its embassy to Jerusalem led the nations of the Arab League to break off relations. Costa Rica has since re-established relations with Egypt, Kuwait, Bahrain and Yemen. The move is expected to give a boost to Costa Rica's aspirations to be named in 2007 to a seat on the UN Security Council, a post it previously has held three times.