Prague, Czech Republic – The Czech embassy in Tel Aviv will open a new office in the city of Jerusalem from March 1, the Foreign Ministry announced.
Presented by Czech Foreign Minister Tomas Petricek, the proposal was approved by the government on Monday.
“The office will strengthen our operations in Israel [and] contribute to the further development of mutual relations” between the two countries, the ministry said in a statement published on its website.
The new office, staffed by a diplomat and a local administrator and located on Washington Street in West Jerusalem, will be tasked with serving and assisting Czech citizens visiting or living in the Holy City, rather than serving as a full-fledged diplomatic office.
The new branch will also facilitate communications with Israeli government offices established in Jerusalem, and closely cooperate with the honorary consul and the Czech House already based in the city.
Despite calls from a number of Czech politicians, including President Milos Zeman, to emulate the United States’ controversial 2018 decision and move the embassy to Jerusalem, the Czech embassy remains in Tel Aviv.
A number of EU countries, including Hungary, have recently strengthened their diplomatic presence in the Holy City, claimed by both Israelis and Palestinians as their capital, although none of them has gone so far as to establish their embassy there – a measure that would go against the EU’s official position.
The United States and Guatemala are at present the only countries to have their embassies in Jerusalem, although a number of other states in Europe and South America said they were considering the move.
“The establishment of the office has no impact on the Czech Republic’s desire to further develop political and economic relations with the Palestinian National Authority,” the Czech Foreign Ministry said on its website.