US 'committed' to reopening Jerusalem consulate

State Department says issue will be discussed with Israelis and Palestinians

The former US consulate in Jerusalem in 2019. Reuters
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US President Joe Biden's administration remains committed to reopening a US consulate in Jerusalem, State Department spokesman Ned Price said on Tuesday.

He said the US will discuss the issue with Israelis and Palestinians.

Former US president Donald Trump moved Washington's Israel embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in 2018, and shut down a separate facility in Jerusalem that served as a consulate for Palestinians.

Mr Biden, who defeated Mr Trump in 2020, pledged to reopen it, but no date has been set.

Israel has suggested such a mission should be outside Jerusalem in the occupied West Bank.

"There are a number of steps that have to go into the reopening of any diplomatic facility. As you know, there are some shall we say unique sensitivities to this particular facility," Mr Price said at a news briefing, rejecting any suggestion the consulate plan had been shelved.

"We are working through the issue with our Palestinian and Israeli partners," he said.

The Times of Israel, citing unidentified US and Palestinian officials, reported on Sunday that in lieu of reopening the facility, Washington was planning to appoint the top State Department diplomat for the region, Hady Amr, as a special envoy to the Palestinians.

But Mr Price, when asked about the report on Tuesday, said he did not have any personnel announcements to make.

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