Turkey: US embassy Jerusalem opening in May damages peace, tramples on law
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Turkey: US embassy Jerusalem opening in May damages peace, tramples on law

Ankara's criticism comes after State Department confirms embassy will move to Jerusalem to coincide with Israel's 70th birthday

A picture shows the exterior of the US embassy in Tel Aviv on December 6, 2017. (AFP PHOTO / JACK GUEZ)
A picture shows the exterior of the US embassy in Tel Aviv on December 6, 2017. (AFP PHOTO / JACK GUEZ)

Turkey on Saturday described as “extremely worrying” the US push to open its embassy in Jerusalem this May to coincide with the 70th anniversary of the founding of Israel.

Friday’s announcement by Washington to move the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem follows US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in December.

“This decision shows the US administration’s insistence on damaging the grounds for peace by trampling over international law, resolutions of United Nations Security Council on Jerusalem,” the Turkish foreign ministry said in a statement.

“Turkey will continue its effort to protect the legitimate rights of the Palestinian public… against this extremely worrying decision by the US,” the ministry added.

Ankara said the decision showed the US does not hear, “and worse still, does not care about the voice of the international community’s conscience”.

US officials said Congress was being notified of the impending move on Friday. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson signed off on the security plan for the new embassy on Thursday.

The date of the move is seen as largely symbolic, as the logistics of a permanent relocation are expected to take much longer. Most of the embassy staff could continue to operate from Tel Aviv during the early stages.

Earlier Friday, four US officials told The Associated Press that the Trump administration was considering an offer from Republican mega-donor Sheldon Adelson to pay for at least part of the new embassy.

Lawyers at the State Department are looking into the legality of accepting private donations to cover some or all of the embassy costs, the administration officials said. The discussions are occurring as the new embassy clears its final bureaucratic hurdles.

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