Selin ATAY-TDO- The Central European country’s foreign ministry announced that the Czech Republic plans to establish a diplomatic office in Jerusalem.

After Hungary, The Czech Republic would be the second European Union member state to open a diplomatic mission in the city. So far, no European countries have embassies in Jerusalem.

In a statement, the foreign ministry in Prague said it will permanently station a diplomat from the Tel Aviv embassy at its “honorary consulate” in Jerusalem. According to the Israeli news site, the place mentioned in the statement refers to the "Czech House", the cultural and commercial center that this country opened in Jerusalem two years ago

"This decision is not about setting a new embassy," the Foreign Office clarified in a statement. Instead, the decision is aimed to support the work of the country's embassy in Tel Aviv, "further strengthening Czech-Israeli relations" and make Czech officials more accessible to citizens living in Jerusalem.

“The establishment of this office has nothing to do with the ongoing Middle East peace process and does not indicate a change in the Czech Republic’s long-held position on this matter,” the foreign ministry added.

Nonetheless, Israeli officials celebrated the announcement by the Prague Foreign Ministry. “This is an important step that is indicative of the friendship between the two peoples and the recognition of Jerusalem as the eternal capital of the State of Israel and the Jewish people,” Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi said in a statement on the announcement.

In March 2019, Hungary became the first EU member state to open a trade mission in Jerusalem. In recent weeks, several countries in different parts of the world, including Malawi, the Dominican Republic, Serbia and Kosovo, have announced their intention to open embassies in Jerusalem. So far, two embassies in Jerusalem-the United States and Guatemala - are operating in the city.

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