? BLOG UPDATE | Feb 25, 2021
Like the United States and Guatemala, the Western African country of Equatorial Guinea is set to move its embassy to the Israeli capital.
Since the United States decided to move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in 2018, a number of other countries have stated that they will follow suit, and Equatorial Guinea has just been added to that list.
The Western African country on Friday, February 19th, 2021 announced that it will move its embassy from Tel Aviv to the Israeli capital.
The announcement came in a phone call between the President of Equatorial Guinea, Teodoro Mbasogo, and the Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu.
In a press release publicized by the Prime Minister’s Office, Benjamin Netanyahu subsequently welcomed the move.
“Israel is returning to Africa, and Africa is returning to Israel in a big way,” he said.
In the same press release, the President of Equatorial Guinea is quoted for saying that “all of Africa is welcoming Israel with open arms.”
Ties interrupted by boycott
Israel recognized the Republic of Equatorial Guinea as soon as the country declared its independence from Spain in 1968, and the two countries quickly developed diplomatic ties.
However, those relations were cut in 1973 when Equatorial Guinea decided to join the Sub-Saharan boycott of Israel following the Yom Kippur War.
In 1994, Israel and Equatorial Guinea reestablished their bilateral relations, and 17 years later, Israel and Germany founded the biggest hospital in Equatorial Guinea.
The hospital is called Centro Medico La Paz and is located in the largest city of the country, Bata. The majority of the staff working in the hospital is Israeli.
Independence from Spain
Theodoro Mbasogo has served as the President of Equatorial Guinea since 1979.
The country is home to roughly 1.5 million people that either speak Spanish, Portuguese, French, English or an Aboriginal language.
Even though Equatorial Guinea declared its independence from Spain in 1968, Spanish remains the language of education and administration. 67% of the population speaks Spanish.
93% of the inhabitants of Equatorial Guinea identify as Christians, while 2% are Muslims. The remaining 5% either follow Animism, Baha’i or other religions.
Other countries might follow in the same footsteps
In 2017, Donald Trump, who was the President of the United States at the time, recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and moved the American embassy to Jerusalem on May 14th, 2018, marking the 70th anniversary of Israel’s existence.
Since then, Guatemala has also transferred its embassy to the Israeli capital, while other countries like Honduras and Kosovo have promised to do the same.
There have also been talks of Romania, Serbia, Brazil, the Czech Republic and the Dominican Republic moving their embassies to Jerusalem, but no final decisions have been made.
In the meantime, the United States Senate has voted in favor of keeping the American embassy in Jerusalem even though Joe Biden is now the president.