Saturday, July 20, 2019

(JNS) U.S. Vice President Mike Pence put some pressure on Paraguay’s new president, Mario Abdo Benitez, to reconsider his reversal to move its embassy in Israel back to Tel Aviv from Jerusalem, where it moved in May.

Congratulating Benitez on his new role, Pence “strongly encouraged” him to “follow through with Paraguay’s previous commitment to move the embassy as a sign of the historic relationship the country has maintained with both Israel and the United States,” according to a White House statement.

“Paraguay’s decisions to reverse course on recognition of Jerusalem is a temporary setback for U.S. policy in the Middle East, and therefore a high priority for President Trump and Vice President Pence, who is a major driver of strong support for Israel,” said geopolitical strategist John Sitilides.“Washington has been seeking the backing of other capitals, and Guatemala’s and Paraguay’s initial concurrence built up a policy traction that the Trump administration sought to further advance.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded to the reversal by ordering Israel’s embassy in Paraguay to be closed.