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    Tillerson Says Trump Remains Committed to Mideast Peace

    Just hours before President Trump was expected to declare Jerusalem the capital of Israel, prompting warnings that the United States’ recognition could incite unrest across the Muslim world, the administration’s top diplomat said on Wednesday that peace in the Middle East was still possible.
    Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson, during a news conference at NATO headquarters in the heart of Europe, said that he did not want to pre-empt the president’s official announcement, but expressed reassurances about the expected consequences of the decision.
    “The president’s very committed to the Middle East peace process,” Mr. Tillerson said.
    Mr. Tillerson has been largely shut out of the usual back-and-forth between Israelis and Palestinians that many secretaries of state spent much of their tenures conducting. Instead, Mr. Trump entrusted that task to his son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner.
    In his remarks on Wednesday, Mr. Tillerson was complimentary toward Mr. Kushner’s Middle East peace efforts, which have also been pursued by Jason Greenblatt, an assistant to the president.
    “They have done the hard work,” Mr. Tillerson said. “We continue to believe there is a good opportunity to achieve peace.”
    But in a chorus of concern, European and Middle Eastern leaders and diplomats said in recent days that the decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital could have a devastating effect on efforts to resolve the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians. Mr. Trump is recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital to fulfill one of his campaign promises, his advisers have said.
    Boris Johnson, the British foreign secretary who joined Mr. Tillerson at the NATO conference here, said he viewed reports of Mr. Trump’s looming decision “with concern because we think Jerusalem should be part of a final settlement between the Israelis and the Palestinians, a negotiated final settlement, and we have no plans ourselves to move our embassy.”
    Later, he amended those comments as he stood beside Mr. Tillerson before a bilateral meeting, saying the Americans should produce their plans for peace in the Middle East right away.
    nytimes.com
     

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