First Published: 2017-12-06

Tillerson insists Trump ‘committed’ to Middle East peace process
US Secretary of State defends president, says Washington still thinks there is ‘very good opportunity for peace’ despite Trump’s pending announcement.
Middle East Online

Both Israelis and Palestinians claim Jerusalem as their capital

BRUSSELS - President Donald Trump is "very committed" to the Middle East peace process, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Wednesday amid global alarm at a US plan to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

Tillerson said the US believes "there is a very good opportunity for peace to be achieved" between Israel and the Palestinians, despite international outcry over Trump's decision on Jerusalem.

"The president is very committed to the Middle East peace process," Tillerson told reporters at a meeting of NATO foreign ministers in Brussels.

He said a small team led by Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner has been "engaged in a quiet way" in the region to try to revive peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians.

"We continue to believe there is a very good opportunity for peace to be achieved and the president has a team that is devoted to that entirely," Tillerson said.

Trump's decision to back Israel's claim on Jerusalem -- which he is due to announce at 1800 GMT -- has triggered a chorus of international concern, amid fears that it could sink any hope of new peace talks.

Both Israelis and Palestinians claim Jerusalem as their capital and previous peace plans have stumbled over debates on whether and how to divide sovereignty or oversee holy sites.

 

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