US President Trump Formally Recognises Jerusalem As Capital of Israel

| December 7 , 2017 , 09:15 IST

US President Donald Trump, continuing with his tendency of announcing controversial moves, on Wednesday formally recognised Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, ordering the US embassy to be moved from the current recognised capital Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

“Today we finally acknowledge the obvious: that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital,” said Trump from the White House's Diplomatic Reception Room.

“This is nothing more or less than a recognition of reality. It is also the right thing to do. It’s something that has to be done,” said Trump, regarding his announcement.

Recognizing Jerusalem, Trump said was "a long overdue step to advance the peace process," adding that he was "not taking a position of any final status" of the historic city that is also claimed by Palestine.

"The United States would support a two-state solution if agreed to by both sides," Trump said.

"I intend to do everything in my power to help forge such an agreement," he added.

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"This decision is not intended, in any way, to reflect a departure from our strong commitment to facilitate a lasting peace agreement," said Trump.

"We are not taking a position of any final status issues, including the specific boundaries of the Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem, or the resolution of contested borders," he said.

"Those questions are up to the parties involved," the US President said.

The President Trump cited a law passed by the US Congress in 1998 calling for the movement of the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, pointing out that the previous 3 US Presidents, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama issued waivers putting the law on hold, but he was now following the intent of the US Congress.

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres criticised the announcement made by the US President, saying that he was "against any unilateral measures that would jeopardize the prospect of peace for Israelis and Palestinians."

Guterres further said, "Jerusalem is a final status issue that must be resolved through direct negotiations between the two parties on the basis of the relevant Security Council and General Assembly resolutions, taking into account the legitimate concerns of both the Palestinian and the Israeli sides."

Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat, slammed the announcement made by Trump

"President Trump tonight made the biggest mistake of his life. Instead of encouraging the parties to sit together, the parties to put all core issues including Jerusalem on the table and negotiate in good faith, he dictates," Erekat said.

"President Trump just destroyed any possibility of a two-state (solution)," he said.