In Washington as part of a two-week tour of North America, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat was received warmly on Friday by members of Congress, who presented him with initiatives to recognize Jerusalem as the "undivided capital of Israel" and calling to move the US embassy there.
Sen. Joe Lieberman (Independent-Connecticut) informed Barkat that six senators had sponsored a bill that would put an end to a currently needed presidential confirmation on the matter and implement the Jerusalem Embassy Act from 14 years ago.
The law, which was passed by the Senate and House of Representatives in 1995 - stated that "Jerusalem should be recognized as the capital of the State of Israel and the United States Embassy in Israel should be established in Jerusalem no later than May 31, 1999."
Presidents Bill Clinton, George Bush and Barack Obama have all suspended the implementation of the law biannually, citing security concerns. The new Senate bill, which was introduced by Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kansas), would waive the need for presidential approval.
Barkat, who was accompanied by Ambassador Michael Oren, also met with 15 members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, who presented him with similar legislation.
"Jerusalem has many friends in Washington," Barkat said in a statement. "Members of Congress, Democrats and Republicans, stand as one in their support for Jerusalem as the unified capital of the State of Israel."
"We will continue to work together to bring the US Embassy to Jerusalem, which I believe will be the first step in bringing additional embassies to the capital, as is the case with all other capitals around the world," he said.
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