Pence says US embassy will move to Jerusalem by end of 2019

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Pence expressed confidence that Trump's approach will help resolve the 70-year-old Israeli-Palestinian conflict as he opened a two-day visit to Israel at a meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem Monday morning.

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence stands after signing the guest book in Israel's parliament in Jerusalem, Monday, Jan. 22, 2018.

Netanyahu thanked Pence for U.S. President Donald Trump's "historic statement", in which he recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and which Pence said he supports.

"In the weeks ahead, our administration will advance its plan to open the United States embassy in Jerusalem", Pence said.

Pence and his wife Karen arrived at Ben-Gurion airport Sunday evening as part of a wider tour of Middle Eastern countries which comes amid simmering Palestinian anger at Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

The US Vice President Mike Pence will later today address the Knesset, the Israeli parliament in a speech that will be boycotted by Arab lawmakers following Donald Trump's announcement in December that the US was recognising Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

A number of parliamentarians began shouting and holding up protest signs at the beginning of Pence's speech, before ushers pushed them out.

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The dramatic policy shift is seen as a betrayal by the Palestinians, who claim Jerusalem's Israeli-annexed eastern sector as a capital and now reject US mediation in any future efforts to resolve their long-running conflict with Israel.

In his speech, Mr Pence defended the controversial decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital, which has been condemned by the Palestinians and their Arab allies.

Trump's shift on Jerusalem overturned decades of US policy that its status should be decided in Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. "Peace can only come through dialogue". There, Abbas is expected to urge European Union member states to recognize a state of Palestine in the pre-1967 war lines, and to step up involvement in mediation.

Ms Mogherini said "the only pragmatic, realistic solution for Jerusalem has to come through direct negotiations" and called on all those involved in the peace process to "speak wisely and consistently with a sense of responsibility".

The most likely location is in Jerusalem's Arnona neighbourhood in a modern building that now handles US consular affairs like issuing passports, birth certificates and travel visas, said a USA official, who wasn't authorized to discuss it publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity. The EU already has one with Israel.

Changing a long-held USA policy, Trump said last month he recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and that the United States will relocate its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

"I know the president's heart and I know that what President Trump wants to do is reform immigration to make our system one that puts the interests of America first", Pence said.

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The Palestinians demand to have East Jerusalem as their capital while many Israelis oppose dividing the city.

Pence said he and Abdullah had "agreed to disagree".

The Vice President also explicitly stated that the USA would "never allow" the Tehran regime to acquire nuclear weapons, highlighting the Trump administration's differing approach to the rogue nation as compared to the previous administration.

Pence, an evangelical Christian, drew parallels between Jewish history dating back to biblical times and the European pilgrims who founded the United States.

Mr Al Malki said that, while the Palestinian Authority was "very serious" about such an agreement, it also expected to be formally recognised as a state.

In another gesture of support, European Union foreign ministers discussed whether to increase the EU's aid to the Palestinian Authority, after the United States said last week it would withhold about half the initial aid it planned to give the U.N. agency that serves the Palestinians.

The Palestinians have said flatly that there can be no peace deal without East Jerusalem.

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Palestinians, who on Sunday burned pictures of Pence during protests, called for a general strike on Tuesday to protest the visit.

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