WASHINGTON – US President Donald Trump met briefly with his Guatemalan counterpart, Jimmy Morales, in Washington on Thursday and the pair agreed to work together to “restore democracy” in Venezuela.
The two leaders – who met for about 15 minutes at the Washington Hilton, where they were both attending the National Prayer Breakfast – also spoke about immigration and the similarity in their respective policies vis-a-vis Israel.
Trump also emphasized the importance of halting illegal immigration to the US from Guatemala and dealing with the security and prosperity challenges underlying it in the Central American country, according to the White House statement on the meeting.
The main objective of the brief get-together, White House officials told EFE, was to give Trump the chance to thank Morales for the support the latter gave to the controversial US decision to recognize Jerusalem at Israel’s capital.
“President Trump thanked President Morales for supporting the United States and Israel, and for his announced decision to move the Guatemalan embassy to Jerusalem,” the White House said in its statement.
In early December, Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and ordered the US Embassy transferred there from Tel Aviv, a decision that sparked tremendous controversy since the Palestinians claim East Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state.
Two weeks later, Morales also announced that he would transfer the Guatemalan Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, a move that was heavily criticized by Bolivia and Jordan but which received praise from the US administration, which called Guatemala’s move “historic.”
And Guatemala was one of the nine countries who in December joined the US in voting against a non-binding United Nations General Assembly resolution denouncing Trump’s decision.
Morales is scheduled to visit New York this week, but for the moment his government has not said whether or not he will visit the UN.