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Arab FMs Condemn Iranian Meddling, Say Jerusalem Must Be Capital of Palestinian State

Arab FMs Condemn Iranian Meddling, Say Jerusalem Must Be Capital of Palestinian State

Wednesday, 7 March, 2018 - 18:30
A general view of Jerusalem's old city shows the Dome of the Rock. (Reuters)

Arab foreign ministers meeting in Cairo on Wednesday stressed that Jerusalem must be the capital of a Palestinian state, and reiterated their condemnation of Iranian interference in the region's affairs.

The ministers endorsed a peace plan presented by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to the United Nation Security Council in February and his call for an international peace conference by mid-2018 with the key goals of full UN membership for the state of Palestine and a timeframe for a two-state solution.

The plan calls for mutual recognition by the states of Israel and Palestine based on 1967 borders, and formation of "an international multilateral mechanism" to assist the two parties in resolving all final status issues and implementing them within a set time frame.

The Cairo meeting was attended by foreign ministers for the Arab League member-states.

"The Arab league has already decided to stand against the negative consequences of the American dangerous and illegal decision of moving the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and recognizing the occupied city as a capital of Israel," said Arab League chief Ahmed Abul Gheit in a televised press conference.

Trump's declaration departed from decades of US policy and upended longstanding international assurances that the fate of the city would be determined in negotiations.

Most countries around the world have not recognized Israel's 1967 annexation of East Jerusalem. Under long-standing international consensus, the fate of the city is to be determined in negotiations.

Jerusalem's status is at the core of the decades-long Israeli-Palestinian conflict and Trump's December 6 announcement was widely perceived as siding with Israel. It also raised fears of more bloodshed as past crises over Jerusalem have triggered violence.

Israel has considered Jerusalem its capital since the state's establishment in 1948 and sees the city as the ancient capital of the Jewish people. The Palestinians equally lay claim to Jerusalem and want the eastern part of the city as capital of their future state.

Washington plans to inaugurate its US embassy in Jerusalem in May and Trump announced earlier this week that he may attend the event in person.

In his press conference, Abul Gheit said that efforts are being exerted to prevent Iranian meddling and stop its proxy war in Yemen through its backing of Houthi insurgents.

“We don’t mind to engage in dialogue with the State of Iran, not the state of militias,” he said.

He mentioned Iranian interference in Yemen and Bahrain, and the damages caused to Arab states.

Ahmed al-Qattan, Saudi state minister for African affairs, also said at the joint press conference that the upcoming Arab Summit would be postponed to April due to Egypt’s presidential election and special circumstances in Jordan.

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