Trump tells Abbas, Jordan king of ‘intention’ to move embassy to Jerusalem
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Trump tells Abbas, Jordan king of ‘intention’ to move embassy to Jerusalem

US president also set to phone Netanyahu; PA president tells Trump 'there is no Palestinian state without East Jerusalem as its capital'

US President Donald Trump, left, and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas shake hands during a joint press conference at the presidential palace in the West Bank city of Bethlehem on May 23, 2017. (AFP/MANDEL NGAN)
US President Donald Trump, left, and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas shake hands during a joint press conference at the presidential palace in the West Bank city of Bethlehem on May 23, 2017. (AFP/MANDEL NGAN)

US President Donald Trump on Tuesday spoke to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Jordanian King Abdullah II over the phone, informing them separately of his “intention” to relocate the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Trump “informed the president (Abbas) on his intention to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem,” a statement from the Palestinian presidency said.

The Royal Hashemite court released a statement with similar language.

It was not clear from either statement if Trump planned to move the embassy immediately or at some point in the future, with no further details provided.

Abbas told the US leader the “firm” Palestinian position is “there is no Palestinian state without East Jerusalem as its capital,” the readout said.

The PA president also warned Trump that moving the embassy to Jerusalem would be dangerous for the peace process, as well as to peace and security across the region and the world.

US President Donald Trump (R) shakes hands with King Abdullah II of Jordan in the Oval Office at the White House as First Lady Melania Trump and Queen Rania look on in Washington, DC, on April 5, 2017. (AFP PHOTO / NICHOLAS KAMM)

The PA president’s spokesperson Nabil Abu Rudeineh said Abbas would continue to be in touch with world leaders to prevent what he called the “unacceptable action.”

The Jordanian king warned Trump of the “danger” the measure will have if taken outside the framework of a comprehensive solution for a Palestinian state. He also cautioned it will have “dangerous repercussions” for peace and stability throughout the region and the world, according to the kingdom’s readout of the call.

The White House said Trump was also scheduled to speak with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Trump’s call to Abbas and Abdullah came with Palestinian and Arab leaders warning that US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital would ruin Trump’s efforts to reach an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal.

Abbas has been speaking with world leaders over the past several days as part of diplomatic efforts to persuade Trump not to make the move.

Trump on Monday delayed a decision on whether to recognize Jerusalem as the Israeli capital and move the US embassy there.

This file photo taken on January 11, 2010, shows an aerial view of Jerusalem’s Old City. (AFP Photo/AFP Files/Marina Passos)

The White House said Trump would miss a deadline to decide on shifting the embassy from Tel Aviv, after a frantic 48 hours of public warnings from allies and private phone calls between world leaders.

There have been suggestions he will stop short of moving the embassy for now but recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital — a move that would upturn years of precedent and run contrary to international consensus.

Nabil Shaath, an adviser to Abbas, told journalists on Tuesday that a decision by Trump to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital “totally destroys any chance that he will play a role as an honest broker.”

Israel captured East Jerusalem and the West Bank in the 1967 Six Day War. It later extended sovereignty over East Jerusalem in a move never recognized by the international community. Israel claims the entire city as its undivided capital, while the Palestinians want East Jerusalem as the capital of their future state.

The city’s status is among the most difficult issues in the conflict. US traditional policy has been that its status must be negotiated between the two parties.

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