Costa Rica moves embassy from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv

17 August 2006

The government of Costa Rica has decided to move its embassy in Israel from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv. Costa Rica is one of two countries in the world to have its diplomatic mission in the Israeli capital, the other being El Salvador. However, president Oscar Arias announced that with immediate effect, the embassy would have to be relocated to Tel Aviv. The government has already given instructions to the Costa Rican ambassador in Israel, Noemi Baruch, to find offices in Tel Aviv, and said it intended to put Costa Rica in line with resolutions of the UN, which considers Jerusalem a city under international regime and not as legitimate capital of Israel. Costa Rica has had an embassy in Jerusalem since 1982, by decision of the then president Luis Alberto Monge. A year later, the Arab League decided to break off relations with the Latin American country. The president's decision was influenced by the desire to re-establish relations with Arab states. "It is time to rectify a historical error that damages us on the international level and deprives us of any friendship with the Arab world," Arias told reporters. The Jewish community of Costa Rica expressed deep regret about the decision, saying that "in view of recent events it might wrongly be interpreted as granting a tacit support to terrorist organizations that aim at the elimination of a sovereign and independent state." El Salvador's foreign minister said in a statement that his country would keep its embassy in Jerusalem, citing the delicate state of political affairs in the region.

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