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We should listen to the wisdom of King Abdullah — Mogherini

By JT , Reuters - Dec 08,2017 - Last updated at Dec 08,2017

AMMAN/BRUSSELS — EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini on Thursday urged support for His Majesty King Abdullah as the custodian of Jerusalem’s holy places, describing him as a “very wise man”.

“Jordan has a very special role, when it comes to the holy places, His Majesty, the King of Jordan, is the custodian of the holy places and he is a very wise man. He deserves and needs all our support in this difficult time and I believe we should all listen to him very carefully,” Mogherini said at a press conference in Brussels, commenting on the US decision to recognise the holy city as Israel’s capital and move embassy there.

“What we truly need in this difficult time is wisdom and to listen to the wise voices calling for peace and for peaceful reactions,” she added, noting that she would meet Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi on Friday.

The European Union, a member of the Middle East Quartet along with the United States, the United Nations and Russia, believes it has a duty to make its voice heard as the Palestinians’ biggest aid donor and Israel’s top trade partner.

“The European Union has a clear and united position. We believe the only realistic solution to the conflict between Israel and Palestine is based on two states and with Jerusalem as the capital of both,” the foreign policy chief told reporters.

Mogherini said she and EU foreign ministers would discuss Jerusalem with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Brussels on Monday.

“The European Union will engage even more with the parties and with our regional and international partners. We will keep working with the Middle East Quartet, possibly in an enlarged format,” said Mogherini, citing Jordan, Egypt and Saudi Arabia, as well as Norway. “We remain convinced that the role of the United States ... is crucial,” she said.

Mogherini also spoke to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. 

Mogherini stressed all 28 EU governments were united on the issue of Jerusalem and seeking a solution envisaging a Palestinian state on land Israel took in a 1967 war, but policy divisions within the bloc have weakened its influence.

“This is the consolidated European Union’s position,” she said, saying EU foreign ministers made that clear to US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Tuesday in Brussels.

Hurdles for the EU include its range of positions, ranging from Germany’s strong support for Israel to Sweden’s 2014 decision to officially recognise the state of Palestine.

The EU is also perceived by some in Israel as being too pro-Palestinian, partly because of the EU’s long-held opposition to Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank, diplomats say.

 

Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel has complicated the situation in the Middle East and is causing a split in the international community, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Thursday.

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