Guatemala to move embassy in Israel to Jerusalem in May

The US ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley (C), waves upon arriving at the Culture Palace in Guatemala City for a meeting with Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales on February 28, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 05 March 2018
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Guatemala to move embassy in Israel to Jerusalem in May

WASHINGTON: Guatemala will move its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv in May, two days after the US embassy makes the same move, Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales said on Sunday at a conference in Washington.
“I would like to thank President Trump for leading the way. His courageous decision has encouraged us to do what is right,” Morales said in a speech at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s annual policy conference, according to a translation of his remarks on the pro-Israel US lobbying group’s website.
Guatemala was one of only a handful of countries that backed US President Donald Trump’s December decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Trump’s move reversed decades of US policy, upsetting the Arab world and Western allies.
Afterward, 128 countries defied Trump by backing a non-binding UN General Assembly resolution calling for the United States to drop its recognition of Jerusalem.
The status of Jerusalem is one of the thorniest obstacles to forging a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians, who want East Jerusalem as their capital.
The international community does not recognize Israeli sovereignty over the entire city, home to sites holy to the Muslim, Jewish and Christian religions.
The United States is an important source of assistance to Guatemala, and Trump had threatened to cut off financial aid to countries that supported the UN resolution.
Prior to 1980, Guatemala and a dozen other countries maintained an embassy in Jerusalem. Israel’s passage in June 1980 of a law proclaiming Jerusalem its “indivisible and eternal capital” led to a UN Security Council resolution calling on Guatemala and several other countries to move their embassies to Tel Aviv, prompting their transfer.
Morales said his decision to return the Guatemalan embassy to Jerusalem “strongly evidences Guatemala’s continued support and solidarity with the people of Israel.”
Morales, a former television comedian with an important base of conservative Christian support in the Central American country, became embroiled earlier this year in a dispute with the United Nations when a UN-backed anti-corruption body in Guatemala tried to impeach him.
Although Morales avoided impeachment, he failed in an attempt to expel the head of the body, the International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala, after criticism from the United Nations, the United States and the European Union. 


Algeria graft prosecutor refers two ex PMs to supreme court

Updated 16 min 50 sec ago
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Algeria graft prosecutor refers two ex PMs to supreme court

  • Former prime ministers Ahmed Ouyahia and Abdelmalek Sellal who served under President Abdelaziz Bouteflika were referred to the Supreme Court
  • Five other former ministers were also referred

ALGIERS: An Algerian prosecutor investigating graft allegations has referred two former prime ministers and five former ministers to the supreme court, Ennahar TV reported on Sunday citing a statement from the prosecution.
Mass protests have broken out in Algeria demanding the removal of the ruling elite and the prosecution of people demonstrators regard as corrupt. The seven politicians will be investigated by the court over alleged corruption cases, Ennahar said, without providing details.
They include former prime ministers Ahmed Ouyahia and Abdelmalek Sellal who served under President Abdelaziz Bouteflika who resigned on April 2 after coming under pressure from protesters and the army.
The list of the former ministers, who are under investigation, includes Amara Benyounes, Abdelakader Zaalane, Amar Ghoul, Karim Djoudi and Abdessalam Bouchouareb.
They were in charge of the sectors of trade, transport, public works, finance and industry respectively.
Their lawyers could not immediately be reached for comment.
The army is now the most powerful institution after the departure of Bouteflika, who had ruled the North African country since 1999.
Army chief of staff Lieutenant General Ahmed Gaed Salah has said major corruption cases would be pursued to try to appease the protests that started on Feb.22.
Bouteflika's youngest brother, Said, and two former intelligence chiefs have been placed in custody by a military judge over "harming the army's authority and plotting against state authority."
At least five prominent businessmen have also been detained pending trial over involvement in corruption cases.
Protesters also want the resignation of interim president Abdelkader Bensalah and Prime Minister Noureddine Beoui, who are considered as part of the ruling elite that has run the country since independence from France in 1962.