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Trump still weighing whether to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital: Kushner

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White House senior adviser Jared Kushner, speaks with Haim Saban, about the Trump administration\'s approach to the Middle East region at the Saban Forum in Washington, U.S.

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05th-Dec-2017       
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Reuters, Washington :
U.S. President Donald Trump has not yet made a decision on whether to formally recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital, his adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner said on Sunday, a move that would break with decades of U.S. policy and could fuel violence in the Middle East.
"He's still looking at a lot of different facts, and then when he makes his decision, he'll be the one to want to tell you, not me," Kushner said at an annual conference on U.S. policy in the Middle East organized by the Brookings Institution think tank in Washington.
A senior administration official said last week that Trump could make the announcement on Wednesday.
Kushner is leading Trump's efforts to restart long-stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, efforts that so far have shown little progress.
Past U.S. presidents have insisted that the status of Jerusalem-home to sites holy to the Jewish, Muslim and Christian religions-must be decided in negotiations. The Palestinians want Jerusalem as the capital of their future state, and the international community does not recognize Israel's claim on all of the city.
Any move by the United States to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital would fuel extremism and violence, Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheit said on Saturday.
A senior Jordanian source said on Sunday that Amman, the current president of the Arab summit, has begun consultations on convening an emergency meeting of the Arab League and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation before Trump's expected declaration this week.
Meanwhile, US President Donald Trump is close to a decision on whether to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital, his son-in-law and Middle East peace envoy Jared Kushner said Sunday.
Palestinian leaders are lobbying desperately against such a move, which the Arab League chief Ahmed Abul Gheit said would boost fanaticism and violence while sinking hopes for peace.
But Kushner, the 36-year-old head of a small and tight-knit White House negotiating team, made a rare public appearance to put an optimistic face on his efforts.
"The president's going to make his decision," Kushner told the Saban Forum, choosing not to deny reports Trump will declare Jerusalem Israel's capital on Wednesday.
"He's still looking at a lot of different facts and when he makes his decision he'll be the one who wants to tell you. So he'll make sure he does that at the right time."
On Monday, Trump must decide whether to sign a legal waiver that would delay plans to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem for another six months.
Every US president has done this since 1995, judging the time not ripe for such a move, and Trump is expected to begrudgingly do so for a second time this week.

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