Suriname pulls back on embassy construction in Jerusalem | News

The Latin American country had said it did not have the funds to build the controversial embassy.

Suriname’s president backtracked on a controversial pledge to build an embassy in Jerusalem, citing budget constraints.

The South American country reportedly followed the United States, Honduras, Guatemala and Kosovo in locating its embassy in Jerusalem, decisions that have angered Palestinians, who have long considered occupied East Jerusalem the capital of their future state.

Surinamese President Chandrikapersad “Chan” Santokhi told the National Assembly on Thursday that the country does not have the funds to build the embassy, ​​reversing an announcement made last month that drew criticism from some members of parliament.

“There is no budget to install a Surinamese embassy in Israel,” the president said.

Israel captured East Jerusalem in the 1967 Middle East war and respects the entire city, including the annexed part, its capital. Israel’s annexation of East Jerusalem is not widely recognized by the international community.

Suriname appointed a non-resident ambassador, Stevanus Noordzee, to Israel in March.

Santokhi said Noordzee “will continue to serve, support, give substance to Suriname’s cooperative relationship.”

Santokhi did not rule out the future establishment of an embassy in Israel, but said the country needs to “receive a report [from the foreign minister] and see what the results and recommendations are, and take follow-up action based on that.”

Going against international consensus, former US President Donald Trump announced the recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in December 2017 and moved the country’s embassy to Jerusalem in May 2018.

The government of President Joe Biden said it has no plans to return the embassy to its former location in Tel Aviv, where most countries have their embassies.

Suriname, which has a small Jewish community, has about 14% Muslim population.

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