Guatemala’s top diplomat shrugged off threats of an Arab boycott of her country on Thursday, affirming that the central American nation stood by its decision announced earlier this week to join the United States in moving its embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv.
“This tactic is being used in the media by a small group with special interests who are opposed to our decision to move our embassy,” Jovel said. “But we’ve been strong in that decision, we trust that it was the correct decision, and we will continue to stand by it.”
While Guatemala and Israel have always retained close diplomatic and political ties, the country of 17 million also enjoys a strong trading relationship with the Arab world. Of particular concern is Guatemala’s vital cardamom crop, exported to the Middle East for use in the Arabic coffee that is consumed across the region. Saudi Arabia — the world’s largest importer of cardamom — receives 94 percent of its supply from Guatemala, the world’s largest producer of the spice.
On Wednesday, Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki said he would be pushing for a boycott of those countries that announced an embassy move to Jerusalem following the UN General Assembly’s Dec. 21 condemnation of the Trump administration’s original decision. In a separate statement, the PLO described Guatemala’s decision as a “shameful and illegal act that goes totally against the wishes of church leaders in Jerusalem.”
(C) 2017 . The Algemeiner . Ben Cohen