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U.S. recognizes Jerusalem as Israel's capital, world reacts strongly

U.S. President Donald Trump announced Wednesday his official recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital and instructed moving the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The move triggered wide criticism and concerns around the world.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on Wednesday that he is "against any unilateral measures that would jeopardize the prospect of peace for Israelis and Palestinians."

"Jerusalem is a final status issue that must be resolved through direct negotiations between the two parties on the basis of the relevant Security Council and General Assembly resolutions," the UN chief told reporters immediately after Trump announced the decision.

Shortly after Trump's announcement, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas condemned and rejected the U.S. decision in a speech aired live on the official Palestinian television, saying the declaration will not give any legitimacy to Israel in this matter.

He said the United States is ignoring and contradicting "the international consensus expressed by the positions of various countries of the world."

Palestine Liberation Organization Secretary General Saeb Erekat also slammed the move, saying "the destiny of Jerusalem is not determined by the U.S. president."

China's Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang on Wednesday said that the status of Jerusalem is sensitive and complicated, urging all parties concerned to exercise caution for peace and tranquility in the Middle East.

He said all parties concerned should exercise caution and avoid rocking the basis for the settlement of the Palestinian issue, which may trigger new regional confrontation.

China firmly supports the Middle East peace process and the just cause of the Palestinian people to restore their legitimate rights and interests, said Geng.

The European Union on Wednesday expressed "serious concern" over Trump's announcement.

Federica Mogherini, the EU's foreign policy chief, reiterated in a statement that the EU backs a two-state solution and this stance remains unchanged.

British Prime Minister Theresa May said Wednesday in a statement that Britain disagreed to the U.S. decision and "it is unhelpful in terms of prospects for peace in the region."

"Our position on the status of Jerusalem is clear and long-standing: it should be determined in a negotiated settlement between the Israelis and the Palestinians, and Jerusalem should ultimately be the shared capital of the Israeli and Palestinian states ...," she said.

French President Emmanuel Macron said Wednesday that France does not support Trump's "unilateral" decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

"The decision is unilateral and regrettable, and France does not support it," Macron told a news conference in Algiers after his one-day visit to the North African nation.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Wednesday that Germany does not support Trump's decision.

"The Federal Government does not support this attitude because the status of Jerusalem is to be negotiated within the framework of a two-state solution," spokesperson Steffen Seibert said on Twitter on behalf of Merkel.

Turkey condemned the U.S. decision as "irresponsible," saying it bears the risk of completely destroying the ground for peace.

The Turkish Foreign Ministry also called on the U.S. administration to reconsider this faulty decision and avoid harming the multicultural identity and historical status of Jerusalem.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani slammed the move as "illegal" and would further destabilize the Middle East, holding Israel "responsible for all the insecurity and instability" in the region.

During a phone conversation with his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday, Rouhani called on Islamic states to join hands in opposing the "dangerous" move.

Egypt's Foreign Ministry said that such a unilateral decision violates the international legitimacy, adding the decision will not change the legal status of Jerusalem as an occupied city.

Cuba's Foreign Affairs Ministry said on Wednesday that the U.S.unilateral move was "a serious and flagrant violation of the United Nations Charter, of International Law and pertinent resolutions by the United Nations."

The Venezuelan Foreign Affairs Ministry on Wednesday expressed the government's "strongest rejection and condemnation of the arbitrary decision by the United States government to recognize the city of Jerusalem, illegally occupied by Israel, as the capital of the state of Israel."

Algeria on Wednesday condemned the U.S. decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital, saying it was "a flagrant violation of the relevant Security Council regulations and international legitimacy that would undermine the possibility of resuming the long-stalled peace process."

The Tunisian Foreign Ministry said in an official statement on Wednesday that Tunisia was deeply concerned about the decision of the Trump administration, noting "the historical and regulatory status" of Jerusalem "is threatened especially as it contradicts the United Nations resolutions and agreements between Palestinians and Israelis."

However, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called Trump's decision as "historic", saying that it showed U.S. commitment to "an ancient but enduring truth."

The status of Jerusalem remains one of the core issues in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. So far, the international community does not recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and no foreign countries base their embassies in the city.

[Source: Xinhua, Beijing, 07Dec17]

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