Arabs to seek world recognition of East Jerusalem as Palestinian capital
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Arabs to seek world recognition of East Jerusalem as Palestinian capital

Arab League FMs meet in Jordan to discuss Trump’s declaration of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, which they vow to invalidate

From left to right: Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir, Arab League chief Ahmed Abul Gheit, Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi, UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash, Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki and Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita pose during a meeting in the Jordanian capital Amman on January 6, 2018. (AFP Photo/Khalil Mazraawi)
From left to right: Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir, Arab League chief Ahmed Abul Gheit, Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi, UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash, Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki and Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita pose during a meeting in the Jordanian capital Amman on January 6, 2018. (AFP Photo/Khalil Mazraawi)

The Arab League will seek international recognition of a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital in response to Washington’s recognition of the Holy City as Israel’s capital, Jordan said on Saturday.

Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi made the announcement at a joint news conference with Arab League chief Ahmed Abul Gheit after talks in Amman on the status of Jerusalem.

The talks were attended by the foreign ministers of Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, the United Arab Emirates and the Palestinian Authority.

“There is a political decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and we will strive to reach an international political decision to recognize a Palestinian state… with (East) Jerusalem as its capital,” Safadi said.

Abul Gheit said an expanded meeting of Arab foreign ministers to discuss Jerusalem would be held at the end of the month.

President Donald Trump speaks in the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House, Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2017, in Washington. (AP/Alex Brandon)

US President Donald Trump’s controversial decision in December to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital sparked protests in Arab and Muslim countries and was rejected in a non-binding UN General Assembly resolution. The recognition was welcomed in Israel, and Guatemala has since announced it will follow the US in moving its embassy to the city.

Jerusalem’s status is among the most contentious issues in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Israel captured East Jerusalem and the West Bank in 1967 and extended sovereignty over East Jerusalem in a move never recognized by the international community.

Israel claims all of Jerusalem as its united capital, while the Palestinians see East Jerusalem as the capital of their future state.

When announcing his decision Trump stressed the city’s final boundaries should be determined in negotiations between the sides and that access to religious sites shouldn’t be impeded.

Safadi said Arabs have three main goals, including invalidating Trump’s decision.

Jordan’s Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi speaks during a joint conference with Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheit in the Jordanian capital Amman on January 6, 2018. (AFP Photo/Khalil Mazraawi)

“According to international law, Jerusalem is an occupied land,” he said.

Earlier Saturday, Jordan’s King Abdullah II met the Arab diplomats and said “the question of Jerusalem must be resolved within the framework of a just and lasting peace agreement between Palestinians and Israelis.”

Jordan signed a peace treaty with Israel in 1994, and is the custodian of Muslim and Christian holy sites in Jerusalem’s Old City.

The kingdom has been rocked by anti-US and anti-Israeli protests in the wake of Trump’s decision, and has accused the US president of violating international law.

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