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US to Move on Plans to Reopen Consulate in Jerusalem


FILE - People walk past the U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem, Feb. 24, 2018. The consulate has been closed since 2019.

The United States will move ahead with its plan to reopen the U.S. consulate in Jerusalem as Washington restores ties with the Palestinians and commits to a two-state solution.

"As I said in May, we'll be moving forward with the process of opening a consulate as part of deepening those ties with the Palestinians," U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said during a Wednesday press conference. But he stopped short of providing a timeline.

The U.S. supports efforts to advance a lasting peace in the Middle East, Blinken added, and will continue to "strengthen all aspects of the U.S.-Israel partnership."

Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, left, and United Arab Emirates Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyanin, right, appear at a joint news conference at the State Department in Washington, Oct. 13, 2021.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, left, and United Arab Emirates Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyanin, right, appear at a joint news conference at the State Department in Washington, Oct. 13, 2021.


The top U.S. diplomat's remarks followed his meeting with Israeli Alternate Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid and United Arab Emirates Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

The U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem has been closed since 2019, and Palestinian affairs have been handled by the embassy.

In May, Blinken announced the U.S. plan to reopen its consulate during a visit to Ramallah in the occupied West Bank, where he held talks with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

Israel had opposed Washington's plan, calling the reopening a "bad idea."

In early September, Lapid told reporters at a press conference, "We know that the (Biden) administration has a different way of looking at this, but since it is happening in Israel, we are sure they are listening to us very carefully."

The Biden administration has repeatedly said that a two-state solution is the best way to ensure Israel's future as a Jewish and democratic state that lives in peace alongside a viable, sovereign and democratic Palestinian state.

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