Middle East

Arab League to lobby UN on Palestinian state

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Arab states are to lobby the UN to recognise a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital.

Arab states will embark on a diplomatic drive to persuade the United Nations to recognise a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital on territory captured by Israel in the 1967 war, Jordan's Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi says.

Six Arab foreign ministers met in Amman on Saturday to follow up on earlier decisions taken by the Arab League to counter US President Donald Trump's move in December to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital, a decision that overturned decades of US policy on the Middle East.

A committee made up of Egypt, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, the Palestinians and headed by Jordan was set up after an emergency meeting of the Arab League in Cairo shortly after Trump's decision that called on Washington to abandon its decision.

The Arab League said at the time the move would spur violence throughout the region and described Trump's announcement as a "dangerous violation of international law" which had no legal impact.

Safadi said the ministers would recommend a series of moves to a full ministerial meeting of the Arab League due later this month.

"We will confront the decision by seeking a (UN) resolution, an international one, to recognise a Palestinian state on 1967 borders with Jerusalem as its capital," said Safadi.

He did not elaborate on the timing of the diplomatic moves nor say whether he was referring to a UN Security Council or General Assembly resolution.

Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheit said the ministerial meeting would also discuss Washington's role in future Arab-Israeli peacemaking that members states said was now jeopardised by what they see as US bias towards Israel.

Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi (R) shakes hands with Arab League chief Ahmed Abul Gheit.
Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi (R) shakes hands with Arab League chief Ahmed Abul Gheit.
Getty

"We want to lessen any losses on the Palestinian side and lessen the Israeli gains," Aboul Gheit added.

Trump's recognition of Jerusalem has infuriated the Arab world and upset Western allies, who say it is a blow to peace efforts and risks sparking more violence in the region.

Palestinians claim East Jerusalem as the capital of a future state. Israel regards Jerusalem as its eternal and indivisible capital.

Most countries consider East Jerusalem, which Israel annexed after capturing it from Jordan in a 1967 war, to be occupied territory, and say the status of the city should be decided at future Israeli-Palestinian talks.

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