US to merge its Consulate with Embassy in Jerusalem

US to merge its Consulate with Embassy in Jerusalem

Washington: The US State Department has confirmed that the American Consulate General in Jerusalem would merge with the US Embassy in Jerusalem on Monday.

“We will continue to conduct all of the diplomatic and consular functions previously performed by US Embassy Jerusalem,” CNN quoted State Department deputy spokesman Robert Palladino as saying on Sunday.

“We will also engage in a wide range of reporting, outreach, and programming in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, as well as with Palestinians in Jerusalem, through a US Embassy Palestinian Affairs Unit (PAU), which will operate from our historic Agron Road location in Jerusalem.”

The development follows Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s October 18, 2018, announcement that it would merge the consulate, which provided diplomatic representation to the Palestinians, with the US Embassy in Jerusalem, creating “a single diplomatic mission”.

The decision was condemned by Palestinian officials.

“This decision was driven by our global efforts to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of our diplomatic engagements and operations. It does not signal a change of US policy on Jerusalem, the West Bank, or the Gaza Strip,” Palladino said on Sunday.

“As the President has stated, the US 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 remains fully committed to efforts to achieve a lasting and comprehensive peace that offers a brighter future to Israel and the Palestinians.”