Liz Truss
Liz TrussREUTERS/Hannah McKay/File Photo

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, has expressed concerns about the impact of any move to transfer the UK’s embassy to Jerusalem in advance of a peace deal with the Palestinians.

In a statement to the Britain-based Jewish News on Friday, a spokesperson for the Archbishop said, “The Archbishop is concerned about the potential impact of moving the British Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem before a negotiated settlement between Palestinians and Israelis has been reached. He is in touch with Christian leaders in the Holy Land and continues to pray for the peace of Jerusalem.”

Truss told Prime Minister Yair Lapid during a recent meeting that she is reviewing moving the British embassy in Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Truss initially pledged to review moving the embassy to Jerusalem last month, when she was running for the leadership of the Conservative Party. She made the pledge in a letter to the Conservative Friends of Israel.

The Archbishop of Canterbury’s statement came one day after the head of the Catholic Church in England and Wales, Cardinal Vincent Nichols, expressed “profound concerns” about Truss’ review.

“I have written to the Prime Minister to express profound concern over her call for a review of the location of the British Embassy to the State of Israel, with the suggestion that it might be moved away from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem,” Nichols wrote on Twitter on Thursday.

“Such a relocation of the UK Embassy would be seriously damaging to any possibility of lasting peace in the region and to the international reputation of the United Kingdom,” he added.

“Pope Francis and the leaders of churches in the Holy Land have long called for the international Status Quo on Jerusalem to be upheld, in accordance with the relevant UN resolutions. The city must be shared as a common patrimony, never becoming an exclusive monopoly of any party,” continued Nichols.

“I can see no valid reason why a move needs now to be considered. I ask the Prime Minister earnestly to reconsider the intention she has expressed and to focus all efforts on seeking a two-state solution, in which Jerusalem would have a guaranteed special status,” he concluded.

Palestinian Authority (PA) cabinet leader Mohammad Shtayyeh voiced concern over Truss’ comments, saying, "Any change in the status quo in Jerusalem would undermine the two-state solution and will be considered a tacit recognition of the city’s annexation to Israel, which will encourage the occupying state."

Former US President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and relocated the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in May of 2018.

Following Trump’s announcement, Guatemala also relocated its embassy to Jerusalem. Paraguay moved its embassy to Jerusalem as well, but Paraguayan President Mario Abdo later reversed the previous administration’s decision and said his country’s embassy would move back to Tel Aviv.

Romania, Moldova, and Honduras both announced plans to relocate their countries’ embassies in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, though Honduras has since said it is considering moving the embassy back to Tel Aviv.

Hungary, meanwhile, opened a trade office in western Jerusalem in 2019.

(Israel National News' North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Sukkot in New York. The time posted automatically on all Israel National News articles, however, is Israeli time.)