JERUSALEM, Israel – The Czech Republic announced on Wednesday its plans to open a diplomatic office in Jerusalem in 2021.
The country’s foreign ministry said in a statement that the move is intended to “further strengthen Czech-Israeli relations” and make the ministry more accessible to Czech citizens in Israel.
Prague said it will permanently station one of its diplomats from Tel Aviv at the “honorary consulate” in Jerusalem.
“This is not about setting up a new embassy,” the ministry clarified.
“The establishment of this office has nothing to do with the ongoing peace process in the Middle East, does not anticipate its results or change the long-term Czech position in this process,” the statement continued.
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Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi spoke on the phone with his Czech counterpart, Tomas Petricek, after the announcement.
“This is an important step that is indicative of the friendship between the two peoples and the recognition of Jerusalem as the eternal capital of the State of Israel and the Jewish people,” Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi said.
“It is my sincere hope that the Czech diplomatic office will be inaugurated in Jerusalem in the near future and we will see the countries’ flags hoisted over the diplomatic missions in the capitals of both countries, as a symbol of the brave friendship and strategic partnership between the countries.”
The Czech Republic will be the second European Union member country to open a diplomatic office in Jerusalem. Hungary was the first to do so.
None of the EU member states have opened an embassy in Jerusalem. Today, only two countries have opened embassies in Jerusalem – the United States and Guatemala.
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