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Israel in touch with ┬┤10 countries┬┤ over embassy moves: deputy minister

JERUSALEM: Israel is in touch with “at least ten countries” over the possible transfer of their embassies to Jerusalem after the United States recognised the city as Israel┬┤s capital, a deputy minister said Monday.

“We are in contact with at least ten countries, some of them in Europe” to discuss the move, deputy foreign minister Tzipi Hotovely told public radio.

She spoke a day after Guatemala said it would move its embassy to the city, a move slammed by Palestinian officials as “shameful”.

Hotovely said US President Donald Trump┬┤s statement would “trigger a wave” of such moves.

“So far we have only seen the beginning,” she said.

Hotovely did not name the countries in question, but public radio cited Israeli diplomatic sources as saying Honduras, the Philippines, Romania and South Sudan are among states considering such a move.

Two-thirds of United Nations member states on Thursday voted for a resolution rejecting Trump┬┤s controversial move, reaffirming that the status of Jerusalem must be resolved through negotiations.

Israel seized the eastern part of Jerusalem in the 1967 Six Day War and later annexed it in a move not recognised by the international community.

Several mainly Latin American countries had diplomatic missions in Jerusalem until a 1980 UN Security Council resolution condemning Israel┬┤s attempt to alter the “character and status” of the city, saying it was a barrier to peace.

Trump┬┤s announcement on December 6 sparked anger in the Palestinian territories and across the Muslim world.

Israelis see the whole of the city as their undivided capital while the Palestinians view the east as the capital of their future state.

No country currently has its embassy in Jerusalem, instead keeping them in the Israeli commercial capital Tel Aviv.

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