Arab states urge US to abandon Jerusalem move

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Lebanon FM proposes economic curbs against US

Cairo

Arab foreign ministers on Sunday urged the United States to abandon its decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, saying the move would increase violence throughout the region.
The announcement by President Donald Trump on Wednesday was a “dangerous violation of international law” and had no legal impact, the Arab League said in a statement after several hours of meetings attended by all its members in Cairo.
Trump’s endorsement of Israel’s claim to all of Jerusalem as its capital would reverse long-standing US policy that the city’s status must be decided in negotiations with the Palestinians, who want East Jerusalem as the capital of their future state.
“The decision has no legal effect…it deepens tension, ignites anger and threatens to plunge region into more violence and chaos,” the Arab League said at 3 a.m. local time after hours of meetings that began on Saturday evening.
It said it would seek a UN Security Council resolution rejecting the US move.
Lebanon’s Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil said during the emergency meeting that Arab nations should consider imposing economic sanctions against the United States to prevent it moving its Israel embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv.
“Pre-emptive measures (must be) taken…beginning with diplomatic measures, then political, then economic and financial sanctions,” he said, without giving specific details. The Arab League statement made no mention of economic sanctions. Arab criticism of Trump’s plan contrasted sharply with the praise Washington’s traditional Arab allies heaped on him at the beginning of his administration in January.
Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahayan has said US President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital could provide a lifeline to militants after the setbacks they suffered this year.
Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahayan also said that the UAE hopes that Washington would reconsider its decision.
Trump’s announcement has sparked widespread opposition across the Middle East, with many warning it could affect Washington’s role as a Middle East peace broker. “The US move could throw a lifebuoy to terrorist and armed groups, which have begun to lose ground in the region,” said Sheikh Mohammed, speaking to a delegation from the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.
Sheikh Mohammed said Trump’s unilateral decision violates UN resolutions, and urged Washington to “reconsider its move and work basically in an effective and neutral manner to draft true principles for peace that serve all and realize development and stability in the region,” according to WAM.
Turning to Yemen, Sheikh Mohammed said the Saudi-led Arab coalition, which includes the UAE, remained committed to a political solution to end the war that began in 2015 when the Iran-aligned Houthis advanced on the southern port city of Aden forcing President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi to flee into exile.
But he said that any solution “will also not be at the expense of enabling a military militia that operates outside the state authority and posing a direct threat to the security and stability of the sisterly Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the region at large.”—Reuters

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