Yisrael Katz (r) with Ernesto Araujo (l)
Yisrael Katz (r) with Ernesto Araujo (l) PR

Brazil’s foreign minister confirmed Sunday that his country will be opening a trade office in Jerusalem, adding that the move would not come in place of the promised embassy move – but would be the first step towards an embassy relocation.

On Sunday, a Brazilian delegation headed by President Jair Bolsonaro was formally received by the Netanyahu government, including meetings between Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Bolsonaro.

In addition, Israeli Foreign Minister Yisrael Katz (Likud) met with his Brazilian counterpart, Ernesto Araujo, in the capital.

During the meeting, Araujo confirmed recent reports suggesting Brazil is planning on opening a business office in Jerusalem – but added that the move would not come in place of the promised relocation of the Brazilian embassy. Rather, Araujo added, the new office would be the first step towards the opening of a full embassy facility in the Israeli capital city.

The office, Araujo added, would be opened as part of Brazil's mission to Israel by the embassy, which will remain in Tel Aviv for the time being.

"Bem vindo to Israel @ernestofaraujo, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Brazil & President @jairbolsonaro. Obrigado for opening a diplomatic office in Jerusalem! Israel and Brazil are true friends sharing common values and we will strengthen the cooperation between our two countries," Katz tweeted after his meeting with Araujo.

Last Thursday, Bolsonaro fueled speculation that his government might renege on his campaign promise to move the Brazilian embassy to Jerusalem, after he told local reporters his government might open a “business office” in Jerusalem.

Days earlier, Brazilian Foreign Minister Araujo said the foreign ministry was “still studying” the idea of relocating the embassy to Jerusalem, leading to speculation Brazil may be concerned about the future of its trade with Arab countries if it relocates its embassy to the Israel capital city.

"The issue of Jerusalem is very important, it is part of the essence of what this new relationship with Israel may mean, we are still studying the way that (decision) will be taken," Araujo said.

The shift must be in line with "other policies in the region to make it clear that, if it were the case, it would be a positive movement, as part of Brazil's contribution to peace and stability," he added.

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