EU EXPRESSES SERIOUS CONCERN OVER US RECOGNITION OF JERUSALEM AS ISRAEL'S CAPITAL
Last Updated: 2017-12-07
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BRUSSELS, Dec 7 (NNN-Xinhua) -- The European Union (EU) on Wednesday expressed "serious concern" over U.S. President Donald Trump's announcement of his official recognition of Jerusalem as the capital city of Israel.

Federica Mogherini, the EU's foreign policy chief, in a statement reiterated that the EU backs a two-state solution and this stance remains unchanged.

"The aspirations of both parties (Israelis and Palestinians) must be fulfilled and a way must be found through negotiations to resolve the status of Jerusalem as the future capital of both states," she said.

She expressed the bloc's serious concern about the announcement by President Trump and the repercussions this may have on the prospect of peace in the region, calling on "all actors on the ground and in the wider region to show calm and restraint in order to prevent any escalation."

"A negotiated two-state solution, which fulfils the aspirations of both sides, is the only realistic way of bringing the lasting peace and security that both Israelis and Palestinians deserve," she stressed.

President Trump announced Wednesday his official recognition of Jerusalem as the capital city of Israel, and instructed the State Department to begin the process of moving the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Speaking of the relocation of the U.S. embassy, Trump said the State Department will immediately begin to hire architects, engineers and planners, so as to make the new embassy "a magnificent tribute to peace" when it is completed.

During his presidential campaign, Trump pledged to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Although the U.S. Congress passed the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995 which required the relocation of the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, former U.S. presidents, including George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, consistently renewed a presidential waiver to delay the relocation out of consideration for national security interests.

Earlier, the Palestinian authorities have reiterated their stance that there will be no sovereign state of Palestine without East Jerusalem as its capital.

The status of Jerusalem remains one of the core issues in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. So far, the international community does not recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and no foreign countries base their embassies in the city. -- NNN-XINHUA