The Trump administration plans to open the United States embassy in Jerusalem by the end of 2019, a State Department official said on Monday.
In December, Trump said that the US recognises Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and announced to move the embassy from Tel Aviv to the historic city.
“The administration will advance its plan to open the US embassy in Jerusalem and will open the embassy before the end of next year,” State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said.
More details will be announced in the future as decisions are made on issues affecting the safety and security of personnel, she said.
“Secretary (Rex) Tillerson has been clear that safety and security is his top priority,” Nauert said following a statement in this regard by Vice President Mike Pence.
Currently in Israel, Pence announced that the administration will expedite the move of the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and said that the embassy will be opened by the end of the year.
“Jerusalem is Israel’s capital. And, as such, President (Donald) Trump has directed the State Department to immediately begin preparations to move the United States embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem,” Pence said amid applause.
“In the weeks ahead, our administration will advance its plan to open the United States embassy in Jerusalem, and that United States embassy will open before the end of next year,” he said.
Officials have said that it will take a few years before the embassy could be moved there.
“Our President made his decision, in his words, in the best interests of the United States. But he also made it clear that we believe that his decision is in the best interests of peace. By finally recognising Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, the United States has chosen fact over fiction. And fact is the only true foundation for a just and lasting peace.
“Under President Trump, the United States of America remains fully committed to achieve a lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians,” Pence added.