Today, we are joined by Acting Assistant Secretary for Near Eastern Affairs, David Satterfield. On December 5, 2017, President Donald Trump announced that the United States recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and plans to move the U.S. Embassy from its – to Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Acting Assistant Secretary Satterfield will discuss more details about this policy. Acting Assistant Secretary Satterfield is the State Department's most senior official for the Middle East and North Africa.
Sixty-nine years ago today, in the aftermath of World War II, the UN General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to recognize and elevate the inherent dignity and equal and inalienable rights of all individuals, and that these rights are the foundation of freedom, justice, and peace in the world.
After a courageous three year campaign of intense fighting, Prime Minister Abadi has announced the complete liberation of all Iraqi territory from ISIS control. The United States applauds the leadership of Prime Minister Abadi, and we offer our sincere congratulations to the Iraqi people and to the brave Iraqi Security Forces, many of whom lost their lives heroically fighting ISIS. The Iraqi announcement signals the last remnants of ISIS’s self-proclaimed “caliphate” in Iraq have been erased and the people living in those areas have been freed from ISIS’s brutal control.
Mexico and the United States also discussed cooperation on the work of the United Nations Human Rights Council and the General Assembly, as well as the Organization of American States, to strengthen their relevance for addressing global and regional challenges to human rights, gender equality, and the promotion of democracy around the world and in our Hemisphere.
The Department of State is fully implementing Presidential Proclamation 9645 (Enhancing Vetting Capabilities and Processes for Detecting Attempted Entry into the United States by Terrorists or other Public-Safety Threats), as the Supreme Court’s December 4, 2017 orders permit. The Department began implementing the full Proclamation at the opening of business (local time) at U.S. embassies and consulates overseas today, Friday, December 8, 2017.
The American people are less patient. In 1948, the United States was the first nation to recognize the independent state of Israel. In 1995, the U.S. Congress declared that Jerusalem should be recognized as the capital of Israel, and that the U.S. Embassy should be located in Jerusalem.
SECRETARY TILLERSON: Well, the President has directed in his statement that he made that he has asked State Department to begin the process of making the move of the embassy to Jerusalem. This will take some time. We have to acquire a site, we have to develop building plans, construction plans – as you point out, ensure we get the authorizations, although I do not anticipate any difficulties getting those authorizations, and then actually build an embassy. So this is not something that’s going to happen this year, probably not next year, but the President does want us to move in a very concrete and steadfast way to ensure the embassy is located in Jerusalem when we are able to do so at the earliest possible time.
Mr. President, I’d like to begin today by expressing our heartfelt condolences to the families of the 14 Tanzanian peacekeepers killed and the more than 40 who were wounded in last night’s attack in eastern Congo. We are horrified by this cowardly attack on those who are sent to protect the most vulnerable.
The United States strongly condemns last night’s attack against MONUSCO, the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), which killed at least 14 Tanzanian peacekeepers and wounded more than 50 others, in addition to at least five members of the DRC armed forces. We express our deepest condolences to the families of those killed, to the Government of Tanzania, the Government of the DRC and to MONUSCO. We wish those wounded a full and swift recovery.
Today, we commemorate the 30th anniversary of the signing of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty between the United States and what was then the Soviet Union. This landmark arms control agreement has been a pillar of international security and stability since its inception. By eliminating an entire class of the most destabilizing weapon systems, the INF Treaty served as a key component to building and reinforcing strategic stability in the later days of the Cold War. It played a key role in securing the Euro-Atlantic region and set in motion the negotiations for a series of agreements to stabilize the post-Cold War relationship between the United States and our allies and the former Soviet Union.