The State Department confirmed on Friday that the United States will open a new embassy in Jerusalem in May to coincide with Israel’s 70th Independence Day.
The embassy will be in located in the building that houses the consular operation in Jerusalem before moving to a separate annex by the end of 2019, the State Department said, according to Reuters.
The announcement confirms earlier statements by officials in the Trump administration regarding the embassy.
A senior State Department official had said Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had approved a security plan late Thursday for an embassy location to open in Jerusalem.
The embassy would be in an annex of an existing U.S. facility in the neighborhood of Arnona.
The official told Fox News that the hope is for the U.S. to develop only a “footprint” there in May, with a target of a fuller complement and facility by the end of 2019.
Administration officials said that Congress would be notified of the May move on Friday.
Moving the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem was a central campaign promise of President Donald Trump’s. In December, he announced that he recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and ordered the State Department to begin preparations for the embassy move.
Friday’s news is in line with a recent report which indicated the move to Jerusalem is indeed expected by 2019, with the plan being to convert an existing consular building in Arnona, a neighborhood in western Jerusalem.
Earlier this month, the State Department said it was prioritizing funding for a facility for the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem in its Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 budget proposal
A State Department official told Fox News on Friday that Tillerson stressed that the State Department would do nothing to compromise the safety of those who work and visit the embassy.
The May opening of the new embassy is ahead of schedule, as Vice President Pence said that it would open by the end of 2019, and Tillerson initially suggested it could take years.
The first “footprint” of the embassy will consist of just a few offices inside an existing U.S. facility in Jerusalem.
(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)