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Russia's Refusal to Move Embassy to Jerusalem 'Strange' - Tel Aviv

© AFP 2022 / THOMAS COEXThe Israeli flag flutters in front of the Dome of the Rock mosque and the city of Jerusalem, on December 1, 2017
The Israeli flag flutters in front of the Dome of the Rock mosque and the city of Jerusalem, on December 1, 2017 - Sputnik International
JERUSALEM (Sputnik) - The absence of Russia's intention to move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, just like the United States did, is "strange," as Russia was one of the first countries to recognize West Jerusalem as the capital of the Jewish state, Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon told Sputnik.

"You know that Russia was one of the first countries to recognize West Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, it was a clear statement, so it's a bit surprising. We welcome the embassies of the countries in Jerusalem, which is the capital of Israel, they recognized it. So there is something a bit strange in this statement," Nahshon said.

The Russian Foreign Ministry has repeatedly said that the question of moving the Russian embassy to Jerusalem is not on the agenda.

U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman sits next to White House Senior Advisor Jared Kushner as he speaks during the dedication ceremony of the new U.S. embassy in Jerusalem, May 14, 2018 - Sputnik International
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At least three countries, in addition to the United States, Guatemala and Paraguay, are expected to transfer their embassies from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, Israeli Foreign Ministry Spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon noted.

Nahshon declined to provide the names of the countries in question citing "the sensitivity of the subject," and considerable international pressure on them.

He also expressed hope that many more countries will move their embassies to Jerusalem by the end of 2018.

READ MORE: Opening of US Embassy in Jerusalem Marks Dark Day for Peace — Palestinian Envoy

Israelis celebrate as they hold an Israeli flag during a parade marking the annual Jerusalem Day, outside Damascus Gate of Jerusalem's Old City, May 13, 2018 - Sputnik International
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The new US embassy opened in Jerusalem earlier on May 14 amid ongoing protests by Palestinians on the border of the Gaza Strip as well as elsewhere in the region. The event was timed to coincide with the anniversary of the Independence declaration of the state of Israel, made on May 14, 1948.

Commenting on the opening of the US embassy in Jerusalem, Russia's Acting Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that Moscow felt negative about Washington's decision. The minister added that Moscow stood for compliance with all agreements on the status of Jerusalem, rejecting unilateral revision of relevant international resolutions.

In December, Alexander Shein, the Russian ambassador to Israel, said that Moscow viewed East Jerusalem as the capital of the future Palestinian state, and considered West Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. He also stressed that the possible move of the Russian Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem could not occur until the final agreement between the Palestinians and Israelis was reached.

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