Russia, Turkey reject US reversal of settlements stance
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Russia, Turkey reject US reversal of settlements stance

Moscow says shift will undermine peace efforts, Ankara insists ‘no country is above international law’

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, right, and Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu attend a ceremony in memory of Russian Ambassador to Turkey Andrey Karlov, who was fatally shot by a Turkish policeman Monday at a gathering in Ankara, Turkey, before their talks on Syria in Moscow, Russia, December 20, 2016. (Maxim Shemetov/Pool Photo via AP)
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, right, and Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu attend a ceremony in memory of Russian Ambassador to Turkey Andrey Karlov, who was fatally shot by a Turkish policeman Monday at a gathering in Ankara, Turkey, before their talks on Syria in Moscow, Russia, December 20, 2016. (Maxim Shemetov/Pool Photo via AP)

Russia and Turkey have rejected the United States declaration that it will no longer regard Israeli settlements in the Palestinian territories as illegal.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced on Monday that treating the settlements as illegal “hasn’t worked,” the latest in a series of policy shifts that have delighted Israel and alienated the Palestinians.

The statement puts the United States at odds with UN Security Council resolutions and much of the international community, including the Arab world and Russia.

“The Russian stance on the issue remains unchanged,” a Russian Foreign Ministry official told the TASS news agency on Monday night.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) welcomes US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to his residence in Jerusalem on March 21, 2019. (Jim Young/Pool/AFP)

On Tuesday, the Russian Foreign Ministry said the change would undermine peace efforts between Israel and the Palestinians, according to Reuters. It also warned regional tensions would be exacerbated by the US position.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu wrote on Twitter that such declarations “shall have no validity with respect to international law.”

“No country is above international law,” he said.

Pompeo said the United States would not necessarily consider the settlements legal but instead would defer to the judgment of Israeli courts.

The European Union on Monday denounced the move and said its position on the settlements hasn’t changed. The European Union’s top court last week ruled that EU countries must identify products made in Israeli settlements on their labels.

The Arab League criticized the announcement Tuesday, calling it an “extremely adverse development.”

The only two Arab states to have signed peace treaties with Israel — Egypt and Jordan — both sharply criticized the US change of policy, with Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi warning of its “dangerous consequences.”

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