Pence: New US Embassy to Open in Jerusalem by End of 2019

PA leader Mahmoud Abbas

US embassy to move to Jerusalem by end of 2019, Pence says

US Vice President Mike Pence referred to Jerusalem as Israel's capital as he met Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday and said it was an "honour" to be there.

Vice President Mike Pence says the United States will open its embassy in Jerusalem next year, ahead of schedule.

A recognition of Palestine as a state would bolster prospects for peace with Israel, Abbas said Monday after a lunch with foreign ministers, including Erjavec, in Brussels and called on the European Union to "swiftly" move to action. The members were forcefully removed from the hall.

Later on Monday, Pence will address the Israeli parliament, whose Arab members said they would boycott the event.

Netanyahu thanked Pence for what he called Trump's "historic" recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and said that the U.S.

Abdullah yesterday voiced "concerns" over Washington's controversial recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

A small group of Palestinians in the town of Bethlehem, in the West Bank, burned murals with the image of Pence in protest of his visit to Israel.

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Pence arrived in Israel Sunday night, getting the red-carpet treatment as he was received by top officials, including U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, Israel Ambassador to the U.S. Ron Dermer and Tourism Minister Yariv Levin (Likud).

King Abdullah II, a staunch USA ally, also said the decision by Washington to move its embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem "does not come as a result of a comprehensive settlement to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict". Jerusalem is claimed as a capital by both Israelis and Palestinians. He said: "America has no greater friend than Israel, and Israel has no greater friend than the United States of America".

In Jordan, Pence and King Abdullah "emphasized the strength of the strategic Jordanian U.S. relationship as well the role the U.S. plays in ensuring regional stability", according to the Jordanian embassy in Washington, D.C.

While Pence announced the deadline to shift the embassy, he failed to mention an exact date for completion of the transfer.

Upon his arrival to Israel, Pence was thanked by Israeli officials for his support for the USA decision.

Prime Minister Netanyahu also took the opportunity to laud the Trump administration's support for Iranian dissidents who have taken to the streets in recent weeks to oppose their government. United States officials said the description of the peace plan was inaccurate.

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