Papua New Guinea is planning to open an embassy in the occupied city of Jerusalem, its Foreign Minister Justin Tkachenko confirmed on Sunday. Tkachenko met his Israeli counterpart Eli Cohen last week to initiate moves to open the embassy as well as plans to expand bilateral economic ties, particularly in agricultural technology.
Israel and Papua New Guinea established diplomatic relations in 1978. The Papua New Guinea official also promised Cohen that his government would continue to support Israel in the international arena.
Cohen thanked Papua New Guinea for the decision. “This is further evidence of the warm and important relationship between the countries. We at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will continue to work to move embassies to Jerusalem, the eternal capital [sic] of the people of Israel.”
Papua New Guinea was one of the 26 countries that joined Israel in December in opposing the move to get the opinion of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on the legal consequences of Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestinian territories.
Former President Donald Trump moved the US Embassy to Jerusalem, after recognising the holy city as the capital of Israel, despite its disputed status under international law. Palestinian leaders see East Jerusalem as the capital of their future state. Three other countries — Honduras, Guatemala and Kosovo — have followed Washington’s lead.
Israel annexed East Jerusalem after capturing it in the 1967 Middle East war. It considers all of Jerusalem to be its capital, whereas most countries consider it to be occupied territory and do not recognise the annexation.