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Jordan: 'Arab, Muslim and Christian' identity of Jerusalem must not change

ByREUTERS
February 8, 2017 16:28

"In our view, Jerusalem is extremely important, our firm stance is that we reject any unilateral efforts that attempt to change the Arab, Muslim and Christian identity of the Holy city."

Egyptian FM Sameh Shoukry meets with Jordan FM Ayman Safadi on Feb. 8, 2017 (credit: REUTERS)

Egyptian and Jordanian Foreign Ministers on Wednesday discussed the Syrian conflict and Israeli settlements in the West Bank and east Jerusalem during a meeting in the Jordanian capital, Amman.

The two leaders held a joint news conference after the talks.



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"We are now about to engage in new peace talks which we hope will equally include all the national Syrian opposition groups, and these (talks) will put the country on the path towards ending this armed conflict and ending its devastating effects on Syrian people," Egyptian Foreign Minister, Sameh Shoukry said.

His Jordanian counterpart, Ayman Safadi, said Jordan supported all efforts to end the Syrian conflict.

"We saw the Astana (talks) as an attempt to ensure a ceasefire all around Syria, especially the south, and as a step that resumes peace talks led by the United Nations and attended by all relevant parties," he said.

The two foreign ministers also discussed the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Shoukry reiterated his perspective that Israeli settlements in the West Bank and east Jerusalem were illegal according to international laws and said a solution to the problem must be sought.

"We are also working, by communicating with both sides of the conflict and international parties, to reinstate negotiations and (define) final status of the settlements," Shoukry said.

Israel passed a law on Monday retroactively legalizing about 4,000 settler homes built on privately owned Palestinian land in the West Bank, a measure that has drawn international concern.

Jordan's foreign minister echoed Shoukry's concern over settlements. He said this and other issues relating to the conflict were addressed during Jordanian King Abdullah's recent meetings with the new US administration.

During the visit, King Abdullah raised concerns about Trump's pledge to relocate American embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

"In our view, Jerusalem is extremely important, our firm stance is that we reject any unilateral efforts that attempt to change the Arab, Muslim and Christian identity of the Holy city. This stance has been clearly articulated by His Majesty, and we have conveyed our viewpoint on the outcome of any decision that threatens the identity of Jerusalem clearly and honestly to the United States administration," Safadi said.

Jordan's King Abdullah was the first Arab leader to hold talks with the new US administration.
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