First Published: 2017-12-06

Pakistan 'unequivocally opposed' to Trump's Jerusalem scheme
Pakistan, which does not have relations with Israel, calls on US to "refrain" from controversial move to recognise Jerusalem as Zionist state's capital.
Middle East Online

Pakistanis carry Palestinian flag as they march during a rally against Israeli and US policies on Al-Quds day, June 23, 2017.

ISLAMABAD - Nuclear-armed Pakistan said it was "unequivocally opposed" to US President Donald Trump's expected move to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital Wednesday, with the world's second most populous Muslim country joining a global chorus of alarm.

Pakistan, which does not recognise Israel, called on the US to "refrain" from the move, a statement from Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi's office said.

The change, set to be announced by Trump in a speech later Wednesday, would "constitute a clear violation of international law and UN Security Council resolutions", the statement warned.

"It would also sidestep decades of global consensus on this issue, undermine regional peace and security as well as derail any prospects for a lasting peace in the Middle East," it added.

The status of Jerusalem, considered holy by Christians, Jews and Muslims, is a critical issue in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, with both sides claiming the city as their capital.

Trump will also order planning to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in the announcement, expected to be made at the White House at 1800 GMT.

The move has set off warning bells around the world, and is poised to upend years of careful US policy and ignore dire warnings of a historic misstep that could trigger a surge of violence in the Middle East.

Most of the international community does not formally recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital, insisting the issue can only be resolved in final status negotiations.

The leaders of Iran, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, the European Union, France, Germany and Turkey have all also warned Trump against the move.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has called for a summit of the main pan-Islamic body in Istanbul on December 13 to discuss the issue. Abbasi did not confirm if Pakistan would attend.

He reaffirmed Pakistan's solidarity with the Palestinian people and renewed Islamabad's call for the establishment of a Palestinian state "with Al-Quds Al-Sharif as its capital", using the Arabic term for the city.

Trump's move comes close to fulfilling a campaign promise, and will delight his political donors and the conservative and evangelical base so vital for the embattled president.

 

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