WASHINGTON, D.C. - Sean Spicer, President-elect Donald Trump's press secretary, said at a press conference on Thursday that an announcement on moving the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem is "coming soon" and encouraged the journalists to "stay tuned" regarding this issue.
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Spicer didn't provide more details, but his statement is in line with what Trump himself told Israeli newspaper Israel Hayom Thursday morning. Trump told the Sheldon Adelson-owned paper that he "hasn't forgotten" his campaign pledge to move the embassy. Over the weekend, Trump was asked about this issue in interviews to European newspapers, but didn't provide a clear answer on his intentions.
Spicer also said that a number of top policy advisers who worked under the Obama administration on issues related to the Middle East, will remain in office for some time after Trump takes charge. He specifically mentioned veteran diplomat Brett McGurk, who was appointed by Obama as the Special Envoy to the Global Coalition to Counter ISIS, and the Acting Under Secretary of the Treasury Adam Szubin, who deals with terrorism funding and financial intelligence.
On Sunday, France's Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said that Trump's proposal to move the embassy would be a provocation with serious consequences. "I think he would not be able to do it," Jean-Marc Ayrault told France 3 television amid a conference on the Middle East peace process in Paris. "It would have extremely serious consequences and it's not the first time that it's on the agenda of a U.S. president, but none have let themselves make that decision.
Official U.S. policy doesn't recognize Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem, which Israel claims as its capital. The U.S. embassy is in Tel Aviv.