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US folds diplomatic representation to the Palestinians into its Jerusalem Embassy

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(CNN)The United States announced Thursday it was merging its Consulate General in Jerusalem — which provided diplomatic representation to the Palestinians — with the US Embassy in Jerusalem, creating “a single diplomatic mission.”

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement that the move was aimed at achieving “significant efficiencies” and improving the “effectiveness of our operations” and did “not signal a change of US policy on Jerusalem, the West Bank, or the Gaza Strip.”

“The Administration is strongly committed to achieving a lasting and comprehensive peace that offers a brighter future to Israel and the Palestinians,” Pompeo said. “We look forward to continued partnership and dialogue with the Palestinian people and, we hope in the future, with the Palestinian leadership.”

The announcement was condemned by Palestinian officials.

    “The Trump Administration is making clear that it is working together with the Israeli Government to impose Greater Israel rather than the two-state solution on the 1967 border,” PLO Secretary General Saeb Erekat said in a statement, adding, “The US administration has fully endorsed the Israeli narrative, including on Jerusalem, Refugees and Settlements.”

      The US moved its Embassy to Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in

      May

      , a decision that was met by protests and sizable international condemnation. Despite that move, the US Consulate General in Jerusalem had retained the status of an independent mission, meaning it was not working underneath any embassy.

      Pompeo said the responsibilities of the Consulate General would now be handled by a new Palestinian Affairs Unit inside the Embassy and that US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman would oversee the transition.

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