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US delays moving embassy to Jerusalem to 'maximise chances' for peace

Jack Guez, AFP | The US embassy in the Israeli coastal city of Tel Aviv shown on January 20.

The United States has delayed plans to move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in order to "maximise the chances" for a peace deal, the White House said Thursday, thereby postponing the fulfillment of a key campaign pledge.

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President Donald Trump on Thursday signed a waiver to delay relocating the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv, the White House said, avoiding a controversial step that would have complicated his efforts to restart long-stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

Trump, who vowed during the 2016 presidential campaign to move the embassy, chose instead to continue his predecessors’ policy of signing a six-month waiver overriding a 1995 law requiring that the embassy be transferred to Jerusalem.

Still, a U.S. official said Trump remained committed to his campaign pledge and would eventually fulfill it, though no timetable had been set.

“He has repeatedly stated his intention to move the embassy,” the White House said in a statement. “The question is not if that move happens, but only when.”

The White House said Trump “made this decision to maximize the chances of successfully negotiating a deal between Israel and the Palestinians.”

(REUTERS)

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