|Guatemala President Reaffirms Commitment to Israel in Meeting with AJC Leaders|
April 30, 2013 – Guatemala
City – An AJC delegation has concluded a diplomatic mission to
The AJC visit follows
Guatemala´s recognition this month of an independent Palestinian state.
Guatemala, a member of the UN Security Council, had been among a minority of UN
member states that refused to upgrade the Palestinian status at the world body last
November. Guatemala abstained in that vote.
President Otto Pérez Molina
met with the AJC delegation, joined by leaders of Guatemala's Jewish community,
at the Presidential Palace. It was the president’s second meeting with AJC
leaders, who last visited Guatemala City in 2012, shortly after his
"Our hour-long meeting
with President Perez Molina was most constructive," said Dina Siegel
Vann, Director of AJC´S Latino and Latin American Institute, who led the
delegation. "We are confident that President Perez Molina understands
the importance of supporting face-to-face Israeli-Palestinian talks, and not
Palestinian end-runs around the negotiating table.”
President Perez Molina
assured the AJC delegation, as well as the Guatemalan Jewish leaders, that the shift
regarding the Palestinians would not alter the historically warm ties with Israel.
Guatemala will not open an embassy in Ramallah or allow a Palestinian embassy
in Guatemala City, he said. The president also added that Guatemala’s positions
regarding Middle East issue will remain unchanged at the UN Security Council.
Further, President Perez
Molina told the AJC delegation that he will visit Israel in December to convey
his government's steadfast commitment to deepening bilateral ties.
Other topics discussed included
Iran's continuing efforts to make inroads in the Western Hemisphere; the
ongoing U.S. Congress debate on comprehensive immigration reform;
and issues of particular concern to the Guatemalan Jewish community.
“We look forward to
continue working with Guatemala, as a valued friend of the U.S., on issues of
importance to both countries, which include economic development, security, and
the fate of undocumented Guatemalans who will benefit from a long-awaited
overhaul of the immigration laws," said Siegel Vann.
During the two-day visit to
Guatemala, the AJC delegation also met with U.S. Ambassador Arnold Chacon and
Israeli Ambassador Moshe Bahar.
Joining Siegel Vann were
several members of the AJC Latino and Latin American Institute´s Board
of Trustees, including El Salvador Jewish leaders Jean Claude Kahn and Lea
Freund; a member of AJC Miami’s Latin American Jewish Task Force, Daniel
Goldstein; and the President of Guatemala´s Jewish Community, George Tenenbaum.
Latino and Latin American Institute was founded in 2005. Based in Washington,
D.C., the institute seeks enhanced ties among Jews and Latinos in the U.S. and
among the U.S., Latin American nations, and Israel.