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Paraguay's President Benitez calls on Israel to reconsider embassy closure

PARAGUAY President Mario Abdo Benitez urged Israel to reconsider the closure of its embassy in Asuncion on Thursday, calling it an “exaggerated” response to his decision to relocate its diplomats to Tel Aviv.

“I regret Israel’s decision. The reaction of closing the embassy was a little exaggerated and we urge authorities to reconsider it,” said Mr Abdo Benitez.

He insisted that Paraguay would “stick to international law and the United Nations resolution that still considers it a territory in conflict” between Israel and the Palestinians.

Mr Abdo Benitez had come under heavy pressure from US Vice-President Mike Pence who “strongly encouraged” him to follow through with outgoing president Horacio Cartes’s decision to imitate President Donald Trump’s provocative relocation of the US embassy to Jerusalem.

Mr Cartes had no mandate to do so and, following Palestinian overtures to Mr Abdo Benitez, the incoming president opted to abide by international law.

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