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Essential Washington

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Tillerson says context important in Trump's Jerusalem announcement

 (Atef Safadi / EPA/Shutterstock)
(Atef Safadi / EPA/Shutterstock)

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson insisted Wednesday that President Trump’s move to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel will not ruin efforts to find peace with the Palestinians.

“What I would encourage people to do: Listen carefully to the entirety of the speech, listen to the full content of the speech,” Tillerson said in a news conference in Brussels, where he is attending meetings with European allies — none of which recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

“The president is very committed to the Middle East peace process,” Tillerson continued. “He has a team he put into place. That team has been working very diligently. … We continue to believe there is a very good opportunity for peace to be achieved.”

Trump named his 36-year-old son-in-law Jared Kushner to head up peace efforts, which have been largely moribund for years. The president is expected to make the Jerusalem announcement later Wednesday and order the State Department to begin arrangements to eventually transfer the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv.

On another matter, Tillerson was asked about persistent reports that the White House is seeking his ouster.

“You all need to get some new sources,” he said. “Your story keeps being wrong.”

 

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