President Trump Won't Attend US Embassy Opening in Jerusalem

08 May, 2018, 02:05 | Author: Diane Mills
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The new US Embassy in Jerusalem is to be opened on May 14 with a huge American delegation expected to attend, perhaps including President Donald Trump.

On Sunday, May 13, Israel's Foreign Ministry will host a festive event celebrating the moves to Jerusalem of the American and Guatemalan embassies, which will also be attended by US officials, as well as Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales. The new embassy has been build at a very short notice - spread over several months and costs far less than the over United States dollars 1 billion as was initially proposed, according to previous statements of Trump.

Instead, Secretary of State John Sullivan will lead the presidential delegation for the historic event, the White House announced in a statement Monday.

"It is reality. I am proud and moved to have hung this morning the first new signs that were prepared for the U.S. Embassy", Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat wrote on Twitter, including a photo showing him on a ladder holding one of the signs.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was not on the list. Jason Greenblatt, the president's chief representative for Middle East peace negotiations, will also attend.

Workmen installed the black-and-white signs, in English, Hebrew and Arabic, along roads leading to a USA consulate building in south Jerusalem that will be remodeled as the embassy when it is formally relocated from Tel Aviv on May 14.

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Trump announced the move of the embassy to Jerusalem in December, saying that he was making good on U.S. legislation and presidential pledges dating back decades.

Jerusalem remains at the heart of the Palestine-Israel conflict, with Palestinians seeking East Jerusalem - occupied by Israel since 1967 - as the capital of an independent Palestinian state. Trump ordered the move a year ago, fulfilling a key campaign promise but drawing condemnation from many USA allies, who say the move makes it more hard to achieve peace between Israelis and Palestinians. Kushner has been tasked with leading efforts to broker peace between Israel and the Palestinians, which have hit a virtual standstill. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and other PA officials have since refused to meet with anyone on Trump's team.

On Monday, senior Palestinian official Saeb Erekat urged foreign dignitaries in Israel and around the world to "boycott" the inauguration ceremony, adding that "those who attend the ceremony will thus be sending an ominous message.that they encourage flagrant violations of worldwide law and the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people".

The interim embassy will initially contain office space for Friedman and a small staff, a USA official in Israel told The Times of Israel, last month.

A restaurateur, she lives in the overwhelmingly Jewish neighbourhood of Arnona.

"Most embassy staff will continue to live and work in Tel Aviv during this period, until a new embassy is built in Jerusalem".

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