Saudi king: Palestinians have right to East Jerusalem as capital
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Trump decision shows 'extreme bias against Palestinians'

Saudi king: Palestinians have right to East Jerusalem as capital

Making no mention of city’s western areas, Salman’s remarks in Riyadh coincide with Islamic summit in Turkey addressing Trump’s recognition of capital

Protesters wearing masks featuring Jerusalem's Dome of the Rock Mosque and holding OIC countries flags take part in a protest against the US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital on December 13, 2017  near the venue of Organisation of Islamic Cooperation's Extraordinary Summit in Istanbul.  
Turkish President opened in Istanbul an emergency summit of the world's main pan-Islamic body the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), seeking to marshal Muslim leaders towards a coordinated response to the US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital. / AFP PHOTO / OZAN KOSE
Protesters wearing masks featuring Jerusalem's Dome of the Rock Mosque and holding OIC countries flags take part in a protest against the US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital on December 13, 2017 near the venue of Organisation of Islamic Cooperation's Extraordinary Summit in Istanbul. Turkish President opened in Istanbul an emergency summit of the world's main pan-Islamic body the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), seeking to marshal Muslim leaders towards a coordinated response to the US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital. / AFP PHOTO / OZAN KOSE

Palestinians have the right to East Jerusalem as their capital, Saudi King Salman said Wednesday, echoing calls at an Islamic summit in Istanbul from which he had stayed away.

“The kingdom has called for a political solution to resolve regional crises, foremost of which is the Palestinian issue and the restoration of the Palestinian people’s legitimate rights, including the right to establish their independent state with East Jerusalem as its capital,” the king said.

Salman did not spell out whether that meant Saudi support for an Israeli capital in West Jerusalem.

The king’s remarks came at the opening of the annual Consultative Council meeting in Riyadh, as the world’s main pan-Islamic body held an emergency summit in Istanbul in response to the Trump administration’s recognition last week of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and its declaration of intent to move the US embassy there from Tel Aviv.

Salman renewed his condemnation of Trump’s decision, saying it “represents an extreme bias against the rights of the Palestinian people in Jerusalem that have been guaranteed by international resolutions.”

In this photo provided by the Saudi Press Agency, King Salman attends a swearing in ceremony in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on November 6, 2017. (Saudi Press Agency, via AP)

Meanwhile in Istanbul, addressing the special conference of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation hosted by Turkey, King Abdullah ll of Jordan rejected any attempts to change the status of Jerusalem or its holy sites.

“All violence… is a result of a failure to find a peaceful solution to the Palestinian issue,” Reuters quoted him as saying.

Abdullah heads the Hashemite dynasty, the formal custodian of the Muslim holy places in Jerusalem. Jordan is home to a large Palestinian population.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani told the gathering that all Muslim nations should work together to defend the rights of Palestinians against the Trump administration’s decision.

Accusing Israel of stoking regional tensions, he called on Muslim countries to resolve their internal disputes through dialogue and to unite against the Jewish state.

He also used his speech to make a thinly veiled jab at the US and Israel’s Arab allies, notably Tehran’s arch-rival Saudi Arabia.

“Some countries in our region are in cooperation with the United States and the Zionist regime in determining the fate of Palestine,” he said.

His speech came after a seething address by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who vowed the US would have no future peacemaking role.

US President Donald Trump signing a proclamation that the US government will formally recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, at the White House in Washington, DC, December 6, 2017. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images via JTA)

Abdullah, Lebanese President Michel Aoun, the emirs of Qatar and Kuwait and the presidents of Afghanistan and Indonesia all joined the summit.

In an address last Wednesday from the White House, Trump defied worldwide warnings and insisted that after repeated failures to achieve peace, a new approach was long overdue.

He described his decision to recognize Jerusalem as the seat of Israel’s government as merely based on reality.

The move was hailed by Netanyahu and by leaders across much of the Israeli political spectrum, and condemned by the vast majority of the international community. 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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