World leaders have been speaking out, almost universally condemning or expressing alarm in response to US President Donald Trump’s anticipated announcement that Washington is to recognise Jerusalem unilaterally as Israel’s capital and move the US embassy to the city. Here are some of their comments.
Pope Francis spoke to a group of Palestinians visiting the Vatican on Wednesday, and highlighted dialogue. “The Holy Land is for us Christians the land par excellence of dialogue between God and mankind,” he said. “The primary condition of that dialogue is reciprocal respect and a commitment to strengthening that respect, for the sake of recognising the rights of all people, wherever they happen to be”.
British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said he viewed reports that the US will move its embassy to Jerusalem “with concern”. “Let’s wait and see what the president says exactly. But, you know, we view the reports that we have heard with concern because we think that Jerusalem obviously should be part of the final settlement between the Israelis and the Palestinians,” he said.
As early as Monday night, the French president expressed his “concern” in a phone call with Donald Trump. “Emmanuel Macron recalled that the question of Jerusalem’s status should be resolved within the framework of peace negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians, aiming in particular for the establishment of two states living side by side in peace and security with Jerusalem as the capital,” the Elysee said. France’s foreign ministry warns on its website that demonstrations are expected and that its nationals should avoid them.
“Recognising Jerusalem as the capital of Israel does not calm a conflict, rather it fuels it even more,” said Germany’s Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel. “It is in everyone’s interest that this does not happen.” The German Foreign Ministry followed up on Wednesday saying Berlin was concerned that violent clashes could erupt in the Middle East as a result of the US move.
The European Union’s top diplomat said on Tuesday that “any action that would undermine” peace efforts to create two separate states for the Israelis and the Palestinians “must absolutely be avoided”. “A way must be found through negotiations to resolve the status of Jerusalem as the future capital of both states so that the aspiration of both parties can be fulfilled,” Federica Mogherini said, speaking alongside US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in Brussels.
Turkey threatened to cut diplomatic ties with Israel if President Trump recognises Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. “Mr Trump, Jerusalem is the red line of Muslims,” President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday. A government spokesman followed up on Wednesday to say “it is plunging the region and the world into a fire with no end in sight”.
The Palestinian Representative to Britain, Manuel Hassassian, said Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem could be the beginning of violence again and the “kiss of death to the peace process”. He added that Trump was declaring war in the Middle East, against Muslims and Christians who would not accept Jerusalem under Israeli control.
The US president spoke by phone on Tuesday to the leaders of Palestinian Authority, Israel, Jordan and Saudi Arabia, to inform them of his plans. Here are some of their reactions: