Newly confirmed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said during his swearing-in ceremony at the State Department that the U.S. embassy in Israel will soon move to Jerusalem “years ahead of schedule,” The Washington Free Beacon reports.
“We will soon move our embassy in Israel to Jerusalem years ahead of schedule,” Pompeo stated.
The Trump administration plans to move the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to an interim location in Jerusalem on May 14, according to Israeli officials. Meanwhile, officials will determine a permanent location in Jerusalem. Moving the embassy on May 14, the 70th anniversary of the day Israel declared its independence, is much sooner than expected. On an official visit to Israel in January, Vice President Mike Pence announced the embassy would not be moved until at least the end of 2019 in order to adequately account for security concerns.
“We will employ tough diplomacy when necessary to put the interest of the American people first,” Pompeo said. “I will work to ensure their safety, to preserve their rights and defend their values and I will make sure that America is always a respected and principled leader on the world stage.”
Pompeo noted all the challenges facing the United States and said he intends to face them head-on.
“We are but 15 months into this administration and we’ve already made outstanding progress by speaking the truth about the challenges we face, by confronting them head on, by partnering with strong, sovereign, independent nations to make America and the world more prosperous and secure,” Pompeo said. “We put hurt on the ISIS caliphate in Iraq and Syria. We’ve done so by great, diplomatic work. We’re confronting all types of Iranian hostility and are deciding on the next steps for the flawed JCPOA [Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action]. We have imposed real consequences on Russia for its acts of aggression.”
Pompeo was confirmed last week by a 57-42 vote in the U.S. Senate. After Trump’s remarks, Vice President Mike Pence formally swore Pompeo in as the nation’s 70th secretary of state.