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

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U.S. President Trump will underline his recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital by transferring the U.S. embassy there from Tel Aviv in 2019, Vice President Mike Pence told the Israeli parliament.

Pence, in turn, reaffirmed President Donald Trump's December 6th declaration recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital, and expressed President Trump's thanks for Netanyahu's "commitment" to the US-Israel relationship.

Trump signed off on a sanctions waiver earlier this month, essentially keeping the nuclear deal intact, but he has in the past chosen to not certify it, a decision that could lead to new U.S. sanctions on the country.

"The United States has chosen fact over fiction", Pence said during a speech Monday addressing Israel's Knesset, or parliament. Pence's remarks reflected an interim plan to retrofit an existing USA consulate in Jerusalem to serve as a full embassy.

Pence's speech to Israel's parliament reaffirming Jerusalem as Israel's capital was "messianic" and a "gift to extremists", a top Palestinian official said.

The Palestinian leadership has refused to meet with Mr Pence.

"The United States remains deeply committed to helping facilitate a peace agreement that is acceptable to both sides", Trump said.

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.

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The PLO official also slammed the United States for its cut on financial aid to the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA).

Recognition of Palestine will give the Palestinian people hope of political steps to establish their state, he argued.

Previous estimates had said it would take three or four years to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem.

"President Trump has made preparations to immediately move the USA embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem", Mr Pence said to loud applause from his audience of Israeli politicians and dignitaries. "This has to come through direct negotiations", said Mogherini. Netanyahu hailed the US-Israeli close ties that "have never been stronger".

Pence told Israeli lawmakers that Jerusalem was "the capital of the state of Israel", reiterating President Donald Trump's change of policy last month.

A small group of Palestinians in the West Bank town of Bethlehem protested Pence's arrival by burning posters with his image.

In Jordan on Sunday, Pence tried to reassure King Abdullah during a meeting that was reportedly tense that the USA was committed to restarting dormant peace talks and to a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, if both sides agreed.

On Monday he said he was honoured to be "in Israel's capital, Jerusalem" at the start of talks with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

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