Tillerson says context important in Trump Jerusalem announcement

US envoy brushed off Trump's 'little criticism' upon arrival

US envoy brushed off Trump's 'little criticism' upon arrival

Directly addressing the issue at a news conference at North Atlantic Treaty Organisation headquarters in Brussels, Tillerson dismissed the reports that overshadowed his week-long trip to Europe which highlighted the yearning of allies for stability in USA foreign policy.

President Donald Trump tweeted on Friday that reports he would soon fire Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson were "fake news", and that "I call the final shots". However, highlighting how the West depends on Russian Federation in efforts to address the multiple conflicts in the Middle East, Tillerson said Washington saw it as Moscow's task to make sure Russia's ally Damascus takes part in United Nations -led peace talks on Syria.

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He declined to go into detail on plans to move the United States embassy in Israel to Jerusalem but said President Donald Trump was committed to the Middle East peace process and working on "new approaches". That team has been working very diligently.

He said a small team led by Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner has been "engaged in a quiet way" in the region to try to revive peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians. The president is expected to make the Jerusalem announcement later Wednesday and order the State Department to begin arrangements to eventually transfer the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv. Under the White House plan reported by Reuters and other media last week, Tillerson would be replaced within weeks by CIA Director Mike Pompeo, a Trump loyalist and foreign policy hard-liner, under a White House plan to carry out the most significant staff shake-up so far of the Trump administration.

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