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Amid Jerusalem tensions, EU and Jordan stress backing for two-state deal

Jordanian FM says ‘we cannot give up’ on Israeli-Palestinian peace, while Mogherini says negotiated statehood accord is ‘only realistic solution’

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini (R) and Jordan's Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi shake hands during a joint press conference on the US recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, at the European Council in Brussels, on December 8, 2017. (AFP Photo/Emmanuel Dunand)
EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini (R) and Jordan's Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi shake hands during a joint press conference on the US recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, at the European Council in Brussels, on December 8, 2017. (AFP Photo/Emmanuel Dunand)

BRUSSELS — The EU’s foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini and her Jordanian counterpart Ayman Safadi said Friday that they would not abandon the two-state solution to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“We definitely don’t give up,” Mogherini said, after US President Donald Trump’s declaration of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital sent shock waves through the region and sparked protests.

She said the Oslo Accords of 1993 and 1995 — which started a process aimed at achieving a peace treaty and fulfilling “the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination” — remained the objective.

The “only realistic solution is based on two states with Jerusalem as the capital of both states,” she said.

Safadi echoed her, saying: We cannot give up. There is no alternative to the two-state solution.”

The peace process has been languishing since 2014.

Trump’s defiant announcement has been met with an almost universal diplomatic backlash, and prompted a call for a new intifada, or uprising, from the leader of Hamas, the Palestinian terror group which runs the Gaza Strip.

Jordanian protesters demonstrate in Amman against the US recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, on December 8, 2017. (AFP Photo/Khalil Mazraawi)

The status of Jerusalem is deeply sensitive for Muslims, and protesters have been taking to the streets in cities across the world following the policy shift.

Mogherini said she had suggested that the “quartet” working on the peace process — the EU, the US, Russia and the United Nations — be “enlarged” to include Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Norway.

She said the idea of a Palestinian state with its capital and its own institutions was essential for security in the region, including that of Israeli citizens.

Trump said his move — making good on a 2016 presidential campaign pledge — marks the start of a “new approach” to solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Israel has long claimed all of Jerusalem as its undivided capital, while the Palestinians see East Jerusalem, which Israel captured from Jordan in the 1967 Six Day War, as the capital of their future state.

In a Wednesday address from the White House, Trump defied worldwide warnings and insisted that after repeated failures to achieve peace a new approach was long overdue, describing his decision to recognize Jerusalem as the seat of Israel’s government as merely based on reality.

The move was hailed by Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and by leaders across much of the Israeli political spectrum. Trump stressed that he was not specifying the boundaries of Israeli sovereignty in the city, and called for no change in the status quo at the city’s holy sites.

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