Trump to address Jerusalem embassy opening by video

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A poster praising US President Donald Trump covers an outside section of the "Diplomat Hotel", adjacent to the US consulate in Jerusalem which will host the new US embassy, on May 11, 2018. The United States moves its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem next week in defiance of the Palestinians and most of the world, likely further heightening tensions at a time of tumult in the region. US President Donald Trump is set to make good on his pledge in December when he broke with decades of precedent and recognised the disputed city as Israel's capital to global outcry. / AFP PHOTO / THOMAS COEX

WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump will address around 800 American and Israeli dignitaries at the ceremonial opening of the superpower’s embassy in Jerusalem by video on Monday, the US ambassador said.

It was not immediately clear from Ambassador David Friedman’s comment, on a call with reporters, whether Trump would speak via a live video link or a pre-recorded address.

“Big week next week when the American Embassy in Israel will be moved to Jerusalem. Congratulations to all!” Trump tweeted on Friday.

The ambassador said staff at the Tel Aviv mission had just marked its last day as an embassy and some of them would turn up for work on Monday at the Jerusalem embassy, which would host an opening ceremony later that day.

“People will be coming back to work as the embassy branch of the Jerusalem embassy, and I think we’re all very happy and excited to be participating in such a historic event,” Friedman said.

“People have been working literally around the clock in getting ready for our opening dedication ceremony on Monday. We’ll be ready.”

Friedman said around 800 people were expected for the ceremony, he added, explaining that in addition to the previously announced US presidential delegation, a “healthy number” of American lawmakers were also set to attend.

“The president, from my side of things, will be addressing the audience by video,” he said.

Lindsey Graham’s office said he would be among a delegation of senators, also including Ted Cruz, who would attend the opening ceremony and meet with Israeli officials about “counter-terrorism and national security issues”.