Czech Republic re-opens honorary consulate in Jerusalem

Prague, Czech Republic Updated: May 30, 2018, 07:09 AM(IST)

File photo: Jerusalem. Photograph:( AFP )

The Czech Republic on Tuesday reopened its honorary consulate in Jerusalem, the CTK news agency reported, after President Milos Zeman voiced his wish to move the Czech embassy to the city from Tel Aviv.

The CTK named Dan Propper, a 78-year-old Israeli businessman of Czech origin, as the new honorary consul. 

"I see my contribution as being especially focused on economic relations because I have links to the local entrepreneurial community," Propper told the CTK. 

Opened in the early 1990s, the Czech honorary consulate in Jerusalem was closed in 2016 due to the death of the honorary consul.

The Czech Foreign Ministry vowed in April that the decision to reopen the honorary consulate had "no influence on the final agreement on Jerusalem" adding that Prague "fully respects the common position of the European Union that considers Jerusalem as the future capital of both states, that is to say, the State of Israel and the future state of Palestine."

US President Donald Trump broke with decades of policy, moving the US embassy to Jerusalem on May 14, infuriating Palestinians and intensifying protests on the Gaza border, with 60 killed in clashes with Israeli forces that day.

Trump's move ruptured generations of international consensus that Jerusalem's status should be settled as part of a two-state peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians.

The Palestinian Authority recalled its envoys to Romania, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Austria after their ambassadors attended an Israeli reception marking the US embassy's move to Jerusalem.

Czech President Zeman, known for his pro-Israel stance, has repeatedly said he also wants to see his country's embassy transferred to Jerusalem.

The Czech Embassy (of Czechoslovakia then the Czech Republic) has been in Tel Aviv since 1949, except during the interruption of diplomatic relations under the former communist regime in Prague between 1967 and 1990.

Any decision to move the embassy would first need to be approved by the Czech government.

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