Guatemala embassy move seen as domestic win, pleasing US

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Guatemala embassy move seen as domestic win, pleasing US
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, right, speaks to Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales ahead of the dedication ceremony of the embassy of Guatemala in Jerusalem, Wednesday, May 16, 2018. Guatemala has opened its new embassy in Jerusalem, becoming the second country to do so after the United States. (Ronen Zvulun/Pool Photo via AP)

GUATEMALA CITY (AP) — Guatemala’s move of its embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem is the culmination of longstanding friendly ties between the two nations.

It’s also seen by many as an attempt to curry favor with the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump, which also inaugurated its own embassy in disputed Jerusalem this week.

Perhaps most important, Wednesday’s embassy move is considered an easy domestic victory for Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales, whose government is beset by economic problems, gang violence and corruption allegations that continue to dog him and those close to him

Even before the embassy move, Guatemala’s congress began pushing for strengthen decades of close relations with Israe. In April, legislators declared that Guatemala will observe each May 14 as a “national day of friendship with Israel.”