JERUSALEM – The Latest developments from U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton’s trip to Israel (all times local):
American National Security Adviser John Bolton has toured the ancient tunnels beneath the Western Wall in Jerusalem’s Old City.
Bolton watched a virtual reality tour of the historic site on Sunday and dined there with his Israeli equivalent as well as U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman and Israel’s ambassador to the U.S., Ron Dermer. Visiting American officials typically avoid holding official meetings in parts of east Jerusalem, which is contested between Israelis and Palestinians. Trump himself, however, also toured the area in a previous visit. Israel captured the Old City from Jordan in the 1967 war.
National Security Council spokesman Garrett Marquis says Bolton “enjoyed a tour of historical Jerusalem provided by his hosts.”
Bolton is in Israel primarily to reassure the U.S. ally of the Trump-ordered troop withdrawal from Syria.
President Donald Trump’s national security adviser, John Bolton, says the U.S. military withdrawal from northeastern Syria is conditioned on defeating the remnants of the Islamic State group, and Turkey assuring the safety of Kurdish fighters allied with the United States.
Bolton, who is in Israel to reassure the U.S. ally of the Trump-ordered withdrawal, says there is no timetable for the pull-out of American forces in northeastern Syria, but insists it’s not an unlimited commitment.
Bolton said on Sunday that “the timetable flows from the policy decisions that we need to implement.”
His comments mark the first public confirmation the drawdown has been slowed, as Trump faced widespread criticism from allies and the resignation of Defense Secretary Jim Mattis for a policy that was to have been conducted within weeks.