Papua New Guinea (PNG) will become the latest country to open an embassy in Jerusalem, next week. Prime Minister James Marape will attend the opening ceremony and hold talks with his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu on the same day.
PNG established diplomatic ties with Israel in 1978 and has previously maintained a consulate in Tel Aviv. Israel’s relations with the island nation are handled by its embassy in Canberra. It is one of the Pacific nations that regularly vote with Israel at the United Nations and has told Israeli leaders it would continue to do so.
In December, PNG was one of the 25 countries that joined Israel in opposing the UN General Assembly resolution requesting that the International Court of Justice weigh in on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. However, in 2018 it voted to condemn the US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, while five other Pacific nations rejected the condemnation.
Most nations have their embassies in Tel Aviv because of the Palestinians’ claim to Jerusalem as their capital.
PNG will join the United States, Guatemala, Honduras and Kosovo as the only countries with embassies in Jerusalem. The Times of Israel reports that Sierra Leone and Paraguay plan to open a Jerusalem embassy in the coming months. Israel is hoping that Fiji, Hungary and Suriname will follow suit.