UN Security Council to hold emergency session on Jerusalem

Friday meeting, at the request of 8 nations, will deal with Trump’s globally panned decision to recognize city as Israeli capital

Illustrative: United Nations Security Council meeting, April 20, 2017. (UN/Rick Bajornas)
Illustrative: United Nations Security Council meeting, April 20, 2017. (UN/Rick Bajornas)

The UN Security Council will meet on Friday in an emergency session to discuss the decision by US President Donald Trump to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, the council’s leadership announced Wednesday.

The talks — requested by eight nations — will begin at 10:00 a.m. (1500 GMT), but there are other items on the agenda, so the Jerusalem issue may not come up until the late morning, said Japan, which holds the council’s rotating presidency.

Bolivia, Britain, Egypt, France, Italy, Senegal, Sweden and Uruguay requested the talks. They have also asked UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to open the meeting with remarks.

After Trump’s announcement, Guterres said Jerusalem’s final status could only be resolved through direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.

Guterres added that he had “consistently spoken out against any unilateral measures.”

Bolivian Ambassador to the UN Sacha Sergio Llorenty Soliz called Trump’s move “a reckless and a dangerous decision which goes against international law, the resolutions of the Security Council.”

“It’s a threat not just to the peace process, but also it’s a threat to international peace and security,” said the envoy.

Although welcomed by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as a “courageous and just decision,” Trump’s move left many angry US allies struggling to find a measured response — and hoping that the tinderbox region is not destined for yet another round of bloodletting.

Through gritted teeth, Britain described the move as “unhelpful” and France as “regrettable.” Germany said plainly that it “does not support” Trump’s decision. The European Union expressed “serious concern.”

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas lambasted the “deplorable and unacceptable” move and said it signified America’s withdrawal as a sponsor of the peace process.

Muslim and Arab nations also fumed. Turkey called the decision “irresponsible” and illegal. Iran said it would “provoke Muslims and inflame a new intifada.”

Israel’s neighbors Jordan and Egypt both warned the decision violated international law and agreements, and could have highly negative consequences.

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