Amid Criticism Guatemala Defends Decision To Move Embassy To Jerusalem

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Guatemala
has defended what it called its “sovereign” decision to move its embassy from
Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
The decision was taken “without pressure from the
United States,” Guatemalan Foreign Minister Sandra Jovel told reporters amid
criticism of the measure.
President Jimmy Morales announced the plan to move thecountry’s embassy on Sunday, following in the controversial footsteps of US
President Donald Trump. Both the United States and Israel have welcomed
Guatemala’s plans.
Business analysts have warned however that the measure
could lead to a downturn in exports of cardamom from Guatemala to Arab
countries. The expensive spice is one of the country’s main agricultural
exports.
Former Guatemalan vice president Eduardo Stein warned
that “almost 350,000 families or two million people linked to cardamom would be
left without work” by the move.
Through October this year, Guatemalan cardamom exports
reached 269.4 million dollars, according to national bank figures.
“I imagine that President (Jimmy) Morales and his
advisers will have carefully weighed the risk of that internal damage, not only
for our economy but for small producers,” Stein said in a radio interview.
Stein also pointed out that during the administration
of former president Ramiro de Leon (1993-96) the transfer of the Guatemalan
embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem was also arranged.

But the decision was cancelled when cardamom-buying
countries threatened to suspend their orders.
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