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Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Egypt, Jordan, Turkey lobby State Department against moving US embassy to Jerusalem

Egypt, Jordan, Turkey lobby State Department against moving US embassy to Jerusalem: As the possibility of US President Donald Trump moving the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv (effectively recognizing the city as Israel’s capital) looks ever more likely, the foreign ministers of Jordan and Egypt have waged a lobbying campaign to dissuade Washington from making the decision, Ynet News says. Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry warned US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in a phone call of the decision’s ramifications and how negatively it would affect efforts to renew the peace process. "The legal status of Jerusalem and its religious and historical status require caution in dealing with this sensitive issue, which has to do with the national identity of the Palestinian people and the status of Jerusalem among the Arab and Muslim peoples," Shoukry said in a Foreign Ministry statement on Sunday. Turkey hopped on the bandwagon alongside Jordan and Egypt. The Washington Post also has the story.

Surprisingly quiet among regional countries on the issue is Saudi Arabia, which has seen its anti-Iran agenda aligned with Israel. Crown Prince Mohamed Bin Salman has reportedly been holding talks with his US counterpart Jared Kushner (by marriage but not birth) over the latter’s Middle East peace plan. Experts say a move by Washington would likely not result in much, considering closer, albeit behind-the-scenes, ties between Sunni Arab states and Israel, according to the AP. Trump is expected to announce his decision on Wednesday, said nepotism beneficiary-in-chief Kushner, Bloomberg reports. The State Department has warned embassies of potential unrest and anti-American protests this week related to an announcement, according to US officials.

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