Middle East

Palestinian minister suggests Arabs recall ambassadors in Washington

FILE PHOTO: Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki arrives to attend a meeting with Arab counterparts on the situation in Jerusalem, in Cairo

FILE PHOTO: Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki arrives to attend a meeting with Arab counterparts on the situation in Jerusalem, in Cairo, Egypt February 1, 2018. REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany

CAIRO (Reuters) – Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki suggested on Thursday that Arab countries should recall their ambassadors to the United States in response to Washington moving its Israel embassy to Jerusalem.

“There is no harm in Arab states collectively recalling their ambassadors in Washington to their capitals for consultations,” Maliki said in live televised remarks at the Arab League in Cairo.

The United States opened its new Israel embassy in Jerusalem on Monday in a controversial move to the holy city from Tel Aviv that has brought wide condemnation. Israeli soldiers killed dozens of Palestinians who protested in the Gaza Strip while the embassy opened.

Maliki also said members of the Arab League, whose foreign ministers gathered in Cairo on Thursday for an extraordinary meeting to discuss the issue, should summon U.S. ambassadors “to remind them of the Arab rejection of the U.S. embassy’s transfer to Jerusalem.”

He said Arab states had agreed at previous summit meetings that they would cut ties with any country that moves its embassy to Jerusalem.

Lebanon’s delegation said its foreign ministry had sent a letter to the International Criminal Court demanding it “undertake measures” to hold to account those responsible for the killings of Palestinians. It did not specify what those measures should be.

It was unclear what the response would be to Maliki’s suggestion. Several Arab countries such as Egypt and Saudi Arabia enjoy strong ties with the administration of President Donald Trump.

Most countries say the status of Jerusalem – a sacred city to Jews, Muslims and Christians – should be determined in a final peace settlement and that moving their embassies now would prejudge any such deal.

Palestinian want Arab East Jerusalem, which was captured in the 1967 Middle East war, as the capital of a future Palestinian state.

(Reporting by Sami Aboudi and Ali Abdelaty; Editing by Richard Balmforth)

 

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