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U.S. Consulate For Palestinians In East Jerusalem To Close

JERUSALEM (JTA) — The U.S. consulate in East Jerusalem, which primarily serves Palestinian-Americans, will close and its functions will be handled by the new embassy in the western half of the city, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced.

The diplomatic mission will be located at the embassy site on Agron Street in the center of Jerusalem, according to the announcement issued on Thursday.  Pompeo said that he asked U.S. ambassador to Israel, David Friedman to “guide the merger.”

“We will continue to conduct a full range of reporting, outreach, and programming  through a new Palestinian Affairs Unit inside U.S. Embassy Jerusalem,” the statement said.

The statement added that the merger “does not signal a change of U.S. policy on Jerusalem, the West Bank, or the Gaza Strip,” but rather is driven by “our global efforts to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of our operations.” Pompeo reiterated that: “the United States continues to take no position on final status issues, including boundaries or borders.  The specific boundaries of Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem are subject to final status negotiations between the parties.”

“The Administration is strongly committed to achieving a lasting and comprehensive peace that offers a brighter future to Israel and the Palestinians.  We look forward to continued partnership and dialogue with the Palestinian people and, we hope in the future, with the Palestinian leadership,” Pompeo concluded.

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