Jerusalem: Pompeo says US still wants peace, mum on Gaza deaths

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Washington (AFP)

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo offered assurances Monday of Washington's commitment to Middle East peace, without mentioning the deadly protests ignited by the opening of the US embassy in Jerusalem.

"We remain committed to advancing a lasting and comprehensive peace between Israel and the Palestinians," he said in a statement.

At least 37 Palestinians were killed by Israeli fire in raging protests along the Gaza border Monday, while an Israeli fighter bombed positions inside the Palestinian enclave.

In his statement, however, Pompeo ignored the spiraling violence and instead expressed pride in the embassy opening, as the US has become one of the few countries to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

"This significant event fulfills a promise made by President (Donald) Trump," Pompeo said.

Asked Monday by AFP about the protests along the Gaza border and Israel's response, the State Department had no immediate comment.

Neither Trump nor Pompeo attended the opening of the Jerusalem embassy, although the US president addressed the inaugural ceremony via a videotaped message.

The US delegation is led by Deputy Secretary of State James Sullivan and includes Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and Trump's daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner.