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US ‘committed’ to peace process despite Trump decision — Tillerson

By Mohammad Ghazal - Dec 07,2017 - Last updated at Dec 07,2017

BRUSSELS — US Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson on Wednesday said that the US is "very committed" to the Middle East peace process despite Washington's decision to move the US embassy in Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

"We continue to believe there is a very good opportunity for peace to be achieved," he said in a press conference on the sidelines of the NATO foreign ministers meeting in Brussels.

US President Donald Trump is "very committed" to the Middle East peace process and he has a team that he put in place "almost immediately" upon entering the White House, said the US official.

"That team has been working very diligently on new approaches to the peace process. They have been engaged in a quiet way with many in the region around that process," said Tillerson.

Asked about the possible consequences of the decision, the US official voiced his reassurances about the expected outcome of Trump's decision.

On his way to the NATO meeting, British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said: "We have no plans ourselves to more our embassy". However, he said the UK views the decision with concern.

"We believe Jerusalem should be part of the final settlement between the Palestinians and the Israelis… a negotiated settlement that we all want to see," the British minister told reporters in Brussels.

During the press conference, Tillerson referred to the situation in Syria and the Middle East and said the West relies on Russia in efforts to address the conflicts in the Middle East.

The US official said it was Russia's task to ensure that the Syrian regime takes part in the UN-led peace talks on Syria.

The US official said the Western allies agreed that there was “no normalisation” of NATO ties with Moscow and that Russia’s encroachment in Ukraine is the biggest "threat to European security and demands continued trans-Atlantic unity in confronting that threat".

Ties between NATO and Russia cannot be normalised until the Russian government stops violating Ukrainian sovereignty and engaging in cyber warfare, he said.

“We cannot return to business as usual in the NATO-Russia relations as long as Russia continues its illegal occupation of Ukraine,” he added.

 

 “Russia’s continued use of hybrid warfare seeks to undermine Western institutions and this stance is a significant obstacle to normalising our relations as well,” he added.

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