US 'dis­cussing' mov­ing Is­rael em­bassy to Jerusalem

Pakistan Today (Karachi) - - FOREIGN NEWS -

The White House said, on Sun­day, that it is in the early stages of talks to ful­fil Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump's pledge to move the Amer­i­can em­bassy in Is­rael from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, a move op­posed by the Pales­tinian lead­er­ship.

"We are at the very be­gin­ning stages of even dis­cussing this sub­ject," said White House spokesman Sean Spicer. Hun­dreds of Pales­tini­ans protested against the plans in cities across the oc­cu­pied West Bank, in­clud­ing East Jerusalem, ac­cord­ing to lo­cal me­dia re­ports.

Trump re­port­edly spoke to hard­line, right-wing Is­raeli Prime Min­is­ter Ben­jamin Ne­tanyahu ear­lier in the day.

Jerusalem mayor, Nir Barkat, wel­comed the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion's an- nounce­ment.

"This evening's an­nounce­ment has sent a clear mes­sage to the world that the US recog­nises Jerusalem as the in­di­vis­i­ble cap­i­tal of the State of Is­rael," Barkat said in a state­ment.

"We will pro­vide any and all nec­es­sary as­sis­tance to the US ad­min­is­tra­tion to en­sure that the em­bassy move is done seam­lessly and ef­fi­ciently."

Pales­tini­ans and their lead­er­ship strongly op­posed the move.

Ear­lier this month, Pales­tinian Pres­i­dent Mah­moud Ab­bas re­port­edly wrote to Trump, who was pres­i­den­t­elect at the time, telling him not to move the US em­bassy.

Ab­bas warned that such a move would have a "dis­as­trous im­pact on the peace process, on the two-state so­lu­tion and on the sta­bil­ity and se­cu­rity of the en­tire re­gion", Pales­tinian news agency Wafa re­ported at the time.

Trump in­vited Is­raeli Prime Min­is­ter Ben­jamin Ne­tanyahu to visit Wash­ing­ton in early Fe­bru­ary dur­ing a phone call in which they dis­cussed the im­por­tance of strength­en­ing the US-Is­raeli re­la­tion­ship, the White House said on Sun­day.

In his first call with Ne­tanyahu since tak­ing of­fice on Fri­day, Trump stressed his "un­prece­dented com­mit­ment to Is­rael's se­cu­rity."

"The pres­i­dent and the prime min­is­ter agreed to con­tinue to closely con­sult on a range of re­gional is­sues, in­clud­ing ad­dress­ing the threats posed by Iran," the White House said in a state­ment.

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