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23 January, 2018 00:00 00 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 23 January, 2018 12:24:52 AM
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Pence hopes for ‘new era’ despite Palestinian snub

US embassy in Jerusalem to open by end of 2019
AFP
Pence hopes for ‘new era’ despite Palestinian snub
Palestinians shout slogans as they demonstrate against US Vice President's visit to Israel, in Nablus in the Israeli occupied West Bank yesterday. AFP Photo

JERUSALEM: US Vice President Mike Pence pledged yesterday that his country would move its Israeli embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem "by the end" of 2019, a step fiercely opposed by Palestinians, reports AFP.

In the same speech from the rostrum of the Israeli parliament Pence urged the Palestinians to resume long-stalled peace talks with the Jewish state.

"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.

Pence said yesterday he hoped for "the dawn of a new era" in Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts as he began a visit to Jerusalem despite a Palestinian boycott of his trip.

The visit, initially scheduled for December before being postponed, is the final leg of a trip that has included talks in Egypt and Jordan as well as a stop at a US military facility near the Syrian border.

Controversy back home over a budget dispute that has led to a US government shutdown has trailed Pence, and he sought to blame Democrats for the impasse during a speech to troops at the military facility on Sunday.

Arab outrage over US President Donald Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital on December 6 had prompted the cancellation of several planned meetings ahead of Pence's tour.

Israel has however enthusiastically welcomed Pence, whose administration has pledged staunch support for the country, with Netanyahu calling him a "dear friend" as they met in Jerusalem.

Pence was given a ceremonial welcome in a tent outside Netanyahu's office, with an honour guard and military band.

In remarks afterwards, Pence called Trump's Jerusalem declaration "historic" and said the US president believed "we would create an opportunity to move on in good faith negotiations."

Pence said he was "hopeful that we are at the dawn of a new era of renewed discussions to achieve a peaceful resolution to the decades-long conflict that has affected this region."

Netanyahu again lauded the Jerusalem decision.

"I've had the privilege over the years of standing here with hundreds of world leaders and (to) welcome them, all of them to Israel's capital, Jerusalem. This is the first time that I stand here where both leaders can say those three words, 'Israel's capital, Jerusalem,'" Netanyahu said.

Pence will address Israel's parliament later in the day -- a speech that Israeli Arab lawmakers will boycott, calling Pence "dangerous and messianic".

On Tuesday, the devout Christian will visit Jerusalem's Western Wall, one of the holiest sites in Judaism. Trump became the first sitting US president to visit the site when he travelled to Jerusalem in May 2017. The site is located in east Jerusalem, occupied by Israel in the 1967 Six-Day War and later annexed in a move never recognised by the international community.

 

 

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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