British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson skipped over a passage criticizing the US president for recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital as he delivered a speech Thursday about the battle against Islamic extremism, The Times reported.
The passage censuring Donald Trump’s move featured in the text distributed to his listeners, among whom was Israel’s ambassador to the UK, Mark Regev.
When pressed to comment on Trump’s announcement about Jerusalem, Johnson pronounced it to be “not helpful,” and “premature” and a step that could not be taken “until you have progress towards a two-state solution.”
It was “a card that should not be played until we could use it as an incentive to get the peace process going,” he said.
Johnson said he had skipped the passage in the text of his speech “for the simple reason that it was inserted at the last minute and I thought it would be easier just to answer the question.”
— Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) December 7, 2017
Despite the worldwide negative reaction to Trump’s declaration, Johnson went on to say that many people were “very excited” about the possibilities that the Trump administration could bring to the peace process.
“The world would like to see some serious announcements by the US about how they see the Middle East peace process and how to bring the two sides together,” he said.
On Wednesday, the foreign secretary tweeted that the UK disagreed with the US decision to move its embassy to Jerusalem.
UK disagrees with US decision to move embassy, but good to see commitment to two-state solution and that final status of Jerusalem must be determined in negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians. UK calls for calm in region.https://t.co/23w1esLWc2
— Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) December 6, 2017
The Times reported that British diplomats admit not having been included in the discussions about peace led by Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner and special Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt.