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Tillerson says recognition of Jerusalem as Israel capital follows American will

Xinhua,December 08, 2017 Adjust font size:

VIENNA, Dec. 7 (Xinhua) -- Visiting U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said here on Thursday that President Donald Trump recognizing Jerusalem as the Israeli capital follows the will of the Americans.

"The president is simply carrying out the will of the American people," Rex Tillerson told a news conference with Austrian counterpart Sebastian Kurz in Vienna.

Tillerson started his 3-day trips in Europe, joining the OSCE ministerial conference held in Vienna.

However, EU leaders and diplomats have said that Jerusalem's status should be decided through talks.

Sebastian Kurz said concerned parties should do everything possible to prevent escalation of the situation.

President Trump announced Wednesday his official recognition of Jerusalem as the capital city of Israel, and instructed the State Department to begin the process of moving the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

During his presidential campaign, Trump pledged to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Although the U.S. Congress passed the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995 which required the relocation of the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, former U.S. presidents consistently renewed a presidential waiver to delay the relocation out of consideration for national security interests.

The Palestinian authorities have reiterated their stance that there will be no sovereign state of Palestine without East Jerusalem as its capital.

The status of Jerusalem remains one of the core issues in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. So far, the international community does not recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and no foreign countries base their embassies in the city.

Israel has controlled the western part of Jerusalem since its inception in 1948. In 1967, after the Mideast war, Israel captured the eastern part of Jerusalem from Jordan and declared both parts its united capital.

The move was never recognized by the international community, including Israel's closest ally, the United States. The Palestinians see eastern Jerusalem as the future capital of their state.

Jerusalem is home to sites holy to Islam, Judaism and Christianity, making it a focal point for many people around the globe. Enditem