Washington: US President Donald Trump has indicated that he might attend the inauguration of the new American embassy in Jerusalem as he reaffirmed his country’s support to Israel’s security during his talks with embattled Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Trump recognised Jerusalem as Israel s capital in December and announced that the US embassy would move to the city in May, shortly after Israel s 70th anniversary.
The decision caused uproar in the Arab world and led Palestinian leaders to reject a US role in mediating a resolution to the decades old Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Trump said he might visit Jerusalem in May this year to open the new American Embassy there.
We’re looking at it. We’ll have it built very quickly. A lot of people wouldn’t be doing it quickly like that. But we’re going to have it built very quickly and very inexpensively, he said.
Trump reaffirmed the great friendship between the US and Israel, and the commitment of the US to Israel s security.
Trump underscored his goal of countering Iran s “malign influence”, the White House said after Trump met Netanyahu.
Welcoming Netanyahu to his Oval Office, Trump said the relationship between the two countries is at its best.
We have, I would say, probably the best relationships right now with Israel that we ever had. I think we’re as close now as, maybe, ever before, he said.
Netanyahu also praised Trump, saying that his move to recognise Jerusalem as the Israeli capital would be remembered throughout the ages.
Others talked about it. You did it. So I want to thank you on behalf of the people of Israel, he said.
If I had to say what is our greatest challenge in the Middle East to both our countries, to our Arab neighbours, it’s encapsulated in one word: Iran.
Iran has not given up its nuclear ambitions. It came out of this nuclear deal emboldened, enriched. It is practising aggression everywhere, including on our own borders. Iran must be stopped. That is our common challenge, Netanyahu said.
Meanwhile, Netanyahu remained embroiled in controversy back home where he is facing corruption charges.
Hours before his meeting with Trump, it was confirmed that an ex-aide of the Israeli prime minister agreed to become a state witness in a corruption probe that has imperiled his premiership. PTI