Abbas warns Trump not to move US embassy to Jerusalem

Palestinian leader tells US president-elect that a relocation would have a "disastrous impact on the peace process".

    Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has written to US President-elect Donald Trump telling him not to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, according to official Palestinian media reports.

    Trump has said at various times that he plans to relocate the embassy, and last month chose David Friedman, a right-wing lawyer who has pledged to move the mission to Jerusalem, as his ambassador to Israel.

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    In an official letter, Abbas gave warning that such a move would have a "disastrous impact on the peace process, on the two-state solution and on the stability and security of the entire region", Palestinian news agency Wafa said on Monday.

    Wafa, which did not specify when the letter had been sent, said Abbas aimed to explain the "risks" of moving the embassy to Jerusalem.

    Abbas also sent letters to other world powers, including Russia, China and the European Union, calling on them to "spare no effort" to prevent the US from making the move, Wafa said.

    A potential relocation is severely opposed by Palestinians as a unilateral action while the status of the city remains contested.

    Israel supports the move and has encouraged previous presidents to take similar steps to no avail.

    The Palestinians regard Israeli-annexed East Jerusalem as the capital of their future state, while Israel proclaims the entire city as its undivided capital.

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    The US and most UN member states do not recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital, and the city's status is one of the thorniest issues of the decades-long Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

    Last month Kellyanne Conway, Trump's spokesperson, told a US radio station that moving the embassy was a "very big priority" for the president-elect.

    Israel captured East Jerusalem in the Six-Day War of 1967 and subsequently annexed it in a move never recognised by the international community.

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    SOURCE: News agencies


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