Vice President Pence says US embassy in Jerusalem will open by end 2019

ANI | Updated: Jan 22, 2018 20:47 IST

Jerusalem [Israel], Jan.22 (ANI): United States Vice President Mike Pence, who is currently on a visit to Israel, pledged Monday that Washington will move embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem by the end of 2019.

Vice President Pence conveyed this message in his address to the Israeli parliament. He also urged the Palestinians, who are opposed to the move, to resume long-stalled peace talks with Israel.

"Jerusalem is Israel's capital, and as such President Trump has directed the State Department to immediately begin preparations to move the United States embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem," Pence said to prolonged applause from Israeli parliamentarians.

"In the weeks ahead our administration will advance its plan to open the United States embassy in Jerusalem. And that United States embassy will open before the end of next year."

At the start of his address, Israeli Arab lawmakers staged a protest from the floor of the Knesset.

Members of the Joint List coalition of Arab parties, which had pledged to boycott the Pence speech, began shouting and holding up protest signs as he started speaking but were swiftly hustled out by ushers.

Israel claims all of Jerusalem as its capital, while the Palestinians see the eastern sector as the capital of their future state.

The US move to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital broke with decades of international consensus that the city´s status should be settled as part of a two-state peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians.

It prompted the Palestinians to cut ties with the Trump administration, but Pence urged them to return to negotiations. (ANI with inputs)