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Spotlight: London keeps distance from Washington over crucial world issues

  LONDON, May 14 (Xinhua) -- Britain on Monday made it clear that it has "no plans" to move its embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, a move that distances itself from its closest ally the United States.

  "The British embassy to Israel is based in Tel Aviv and we have no plans to move it," British Prime Minister Theresa May's spokesman told reporters.

  The U.S. move has touched off strong protest from the Palestinians on Monday. At least 55 Palestinians were killed in clashes with Israeli forces in the Gaza Strip on the day when the United States opened its embassy in Jerusalem.

  U.S. President Donald Trump announced his decision to move the U.S. embassy in Israel last December, a move that was hailed by Israel but widely criticized by the international community and led to an effective Palestinian boycott of Washington's role in the Middle East peace process.

  Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said Monday that the move is in defiance of the international community and the U.S. has thus "removed itself from the political role in the Middle East as a mediator."

  The status of Jerusalem is one of the most inflammatory issues in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict; the city is claimed by both Israelis and Palestinians.

  In fact, Jerusalem is not the only major international issue that has forced London to distance itself from Washington. The Iran nuclear deal is another.

  After Trump announced his country's withdrawal from the accord on May 8, Britain joined Germany, France and other European Union members in a bid to salvage the landmark agreement.

  The UN Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution in July 2015 to endorse the multilateral deal shortly after it was struck after painstaking negotiations between Iran and the five permanent security council members plus Germany and the European Union.

  European Union foreign ministers and their Iranian counterpart are expected to meet in Brussels on Tuesday following bilateral talks between the British and French foreign ministers in London on Monday.

  The Jerusalem and Iran decisions are the latest and most serious examples of the Trump administration's aggressive unilateralism. Last June, the Trump administration pulled the United States out of the Paris accord on climate change, another crucial international agreement.

  All these unilateral U.S. actions have been rejected by the international community, including its Western allies.

  British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, during his recent trip to the United States, failed to convince the U.S. government to stay within the Iran nuclear accord. The French and German lobbying efforts also failed to pay off.

  The other parties -- China, France, Russia, Britain, the European Union and Iran -- remain in the accord, which placed controls on Iran's nuclear program.

  One pillar of British foreign policy is maintaining sound relations with the United States, yet it is evidently clear that London does not blindly follow Washington's every move.

  However, Whitehall does not distance itself from the White House on all major world issues. For instance, Britain and France joined the U.S.-led military strikes on Syria in April.

  Yet one thing is abundantly clear: Trump's "America First" policy is leading his country down a road to "America Alone."