US weighs designating embassy in Jerusalem as early as 2019

The U.S Embassy in Tel Aviv, Israel can be seen in this file photo.The Trump administration is considering a plan to move the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem as early as next year. (Reuters)
Updated 19 January 2018
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US weighs designating embassy in Jerusalem as early as 2019

WASHINGTON: The Trump administration is considering a plan to move the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem as early as next year, rather than waiting for several years.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has said previously that planning is under way for a new facility in Jerusalem that will take at least three years. In the meantime, three US officials say Tillerson may designate an existing US consular building in West Jerusalem as the interim embassy. The officials say Tillerson hasn’t made a decision.
The officials weren’t authorized to discuss the situation by name and demanded anonymity.
Two of the officials say Vice President Mike Pence is pushing the State Department to accept the proposal quickly so Pence can announce it while in Israel. Pence departs Friday for the Middle East.


Security tops agenda as Iraqi PM visits Egypt in first foreign trip

Updated 13 min 12 sec ago
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Security tops agenda as Iraqi PM visits Egypt in first foreign trip

  • After meeting Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, Abdul Mahdi highlighted “the importance of drying up the sources of terrorism”
  • The visit to Egypt is Abdul Mahdi’s first trip abroad since taking office in October

CAIRO: Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi sought Egypt’s support for efforts to tackle extremist militants in the region during a visit to Cairo on Saturday, his first trip abroad since taking office in October.
After meeting Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, Abdul Mahdi highlighted “the importance of drying up the sources of terrorism” and said “cooperation between Egypt and Iraq will be essential for this matter,” according to an official statement.
His comments came as US-backed forces said they had captured Daesh’s last shred of territory in eastern Syria at Baghouz, ending its territorial rule over a self-proclaimed caliphate straddling Syria and Iraq after years of fighting.
Though the defeat ends the group’s grip over the extremist quasi-state that it declared in 2014, it remains a threat.
Some Daesh fighters still hold out in Syria’s remote central desert and in Iraqi cities they have slipped into the shadows, staging sudden shootings or kidnappings and awaiting a chance to rise again.
The United States thinks the group’s leader, Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, is in Iraq.
Defeating militants in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula and restoring security after years of unrest has been a key promise of El-Sisi, the general-turned-president who came to power a year after the military overthrew Islamist President Mohammed Mursi in 2013.
Egypt has fought an insurgency waged by a Daesh affiliate in North Sinai since 2013. Hundreds of members of the security forces have been killed.