Legal status of Jerusalem should be maintained, Sisi tells Trump in phone call

Ahram Online , Tuesday 5 Dec 2017

FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump meets with Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia May 21, 2017 Reuters

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi emphasised Egypt's "firm position" that Jerusalem should maintain its legal status in a phone call with US President Donald Trump on Tuesday, following the latter's announcement that the US would move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

El-Sisi stressed the importance of "maintaining the legal status of Jerusalem within the framework of international rules and relevant UN resolutions," the presidential office said in a statement.

The Egyptian president urged against "complicating the situation in the region by introducing measures that would undermine chances for peace in the Middle East."

A senior administration official said last week that Trump is likely to announce that the United States will recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital, a move that could fuel tensions in the Middle East and undermine Palestinian-Israeli peace efforts.

The Palestinians have been seeking to establish an independent state with east Jerusalem as its capital.

Israel annexed east Jerusalem after the 1967 war, a move that was never recognized by the international community.

Earlier on Tuesday, Egypt's foreign minister Sameh Shoukry discussed with his French counterpart Jean Yves Le Drian the expected decision by the US, with both leaders calling on the Trump administration to be "careful" before taking the move.

The two FMs warned about the "potentially dangerous repercussions on the situation in the region and the future of the peace process."

Palestinian-Israeli peace talks have been stalled for years, collapsing most recently in 2014 partly over Israel's opposition to an earlier Palestinian move to reconcile with Islamist group Hamas, as well as Israel's ongoing building of settlements on occupied land.

Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheit said on Saturday that any move by the United States to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital would fuel extremism and violence.

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