Israel says Equatorial Guinea to move embassy to Jerusalem

JERUSALEM — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Friday that Equatorial Guinea would move its embassy to Jerusalem in the latest sign of improving ties with African nations.

It would become the third country to move its embassy to the contested city, after the United States and Guatemala. Kosovo and Malawi have also announced plans to open embassies in Jerusalem.

Israel captured east Jerusalem in the 1967 war and annexed it in a move not recognized internationally. The Palestinians want east Jerusalem to be the capital of their future state. Because of the city’s contested status, most countries maintain embassies in Tel Aviv.

During his term as president, Donald Trump broke with decades of U.S. policy by moving the embassy to Jerusalem in 2018 and recognizing the city as Israel’s capital. The Palestinian Authority angrily condemned the move and cut off contacts with his administration in response.

Netanyahu said he spoke to Equatorial Guinea’s President Teodoro Mbasogo by phone and was told that the country would be moving its embassy to Jerusalem.

“Prime Minister Netanyahu noted that Israel is continuing to deepen its cooperation with African countries and said that Israel is returning to Africa and Africa is returning to Israel in a big way,” Netanyahu’s office said in a statement.

Netanyahu has boasted of improving ties with several countries in Africa and Asia that long shunned Israel over the conflict with the Palestinians.