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Mahmoud Abbas wins EU backing for Palestinian capital in East Jerusalem

Mahmoud Abbas, President of the State of Palestine / AFP PHOTO / TIMOTHY A. CLARY

The European Union (EU) assured President Mahmoud Abbas it supported his ambition to have East Jerusalem as capital of a Palestinian state, in the bloc’s latest rejection of United States (U.S.) President Donald Trump’s decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

At a meeting in Brussels with EU foreign ministers, Abbas repeated his call for East Jerusalem as capital as he urged EU governments to recognise a state of Palestine immediately, arguing that this would not disrupt negotiations with Israel on a peace settlement for the region.

While Abbas made no reference to Trump’s move on Jerusalem or American Vice President Mike Pence’s visit to the city yesterday, his presence at the EU headquarters in Brussels was seized on by European officials as a chance to restate opposition to Trump’s December. 6 decision to move Washington Embassy to Jerusalem.

Before Abbas’ arrival, she was more outspoken, saying: “Clearly there is a problem with Jerusalem. That is a diplomatic euphemism,” refereing to Trump’s position.

Deputy German Foreign Minister Michael Roth told reporters that Trump’s decision had made peace talks harder but said all sides needed to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.



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