Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Trump Tells Israel to Wait on Settlements

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Trump Tells Israel to Wait on Settlements

Article excerpt

WASHINGTON - President Donald Trump, who has made support for Israel a cornerstone of his foreign policy, shifted gears Thursday and for the first time warned the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to hold off new settlement construction.

The administration noted that the president "has not taken an official position on settlement activity," but said Mr. Trump would discuss the issue with Mr. Netanyahu when they meet Feb. 15, in effect telling him to wait. Emboldened by Mr. Trump's support, Israel announced more than 5,000 new homes in the West Bank since his inauguration.

Mattis tries reassurance

SEOUL, South Korea - On his first mission to reassure an important American ally, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis met on Thursday with top South Korean officials, who agreed to push ahead with the deployment of a new missile defense system.

"Thaad is for defense of our allies' people, of our troops who are committed to their defense," Mr. Mattis said, using the acronym for Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense, the U.S. antimissile system. It is meant to intercept North Korea's medium-range missiles.

Mr. Mattis will also visit Japan. Tensions have risen in the area after North Korea leader Kim Jong-un proclaimed on New Year's Day that his military was preparing its first test launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile.

Asian nations have also been concerned about the conflicting signals from President Donald Trump about the United States' posture in the region.

Protests in Romania

BUCHAREST, Romania - Romania's new decree diluting the country's corruption law ignited a furor Thursday, prompting strong criticism from home and abroad and a declaration from the president that he would ask judges to declare it unconstitutional.

Tens of thousands protested for the third night in Bucharest, the capital, and thousands more in some 20 other Romanian cities, calling for the government to resign after issuing the watered-down emergency degree a day earlier. …

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