The US position hasn’t “softened” and the perception that it has has nothing to do with Republican pressure on this issue. The US position is what it has always been from the start. The State Department just hasn’t felt compelled to show all of its cards at once or to everyone. The conducting of good diplomacy and foreign policy should never be done in public. Unfortunately, the US often elects or appoints its leaders and officials, not based on intelligence or skill, but rather for political reasons or based on good sound bites.