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Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) and Palestinian Authority chief Mahmoud Abbas in Bethlehem.(Photo by: REUTERS)
Abbas seeks Putin's help blocking US embassy move to Jerusalem
By JPOST.COM STAFF
01/14/2017
The incoming Trump administration intends to move ahead with its plans to move the embassy regardless of criticism from Arab nations.
Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas has turned to Russian president Vladimir Putin for help preventing the proposed United States embassy move from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, AFP reported on Friday.

PA official Saeb Erekat communicated the request from Abbas to Putin in Moscow in the form of a letter. "The letter asks President Putin to do what he can about the information we have that President-elect Donald Trump will move the embassy to Jerusalem, which for us is a red line and dangerous," he said after meeting Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

Also on Friday, AFP reported that the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem Muhammad Hussein stated during his Friday afternoon sermon that an embassy move to Jerusalem would be an "assault" on Muslims.

Speaking at al-Aksa mosque in Jerusalem's Old City, Hussein declared that “The pledge to move the embassy is not just an assault against Palestinians but against Arabs and Muslims, who will not remain silent.”

Last week, CNN reported that the incoming Trump administration intends to move ahead with its plans to move the embassy regardless of criticism from Arab nations.

CNN cited unnamed Israeli officials as speculating that the move could be announced as early as May 24, on the Israeli holiday "Jerusalem Day" that marks the reunification of the capital in the 1967 Six Day War.

The report emerged after Abbas sent a letter to Trump urging him not to relocate his country’s embassy in Israel when he assumes office.

“The president asked the American president-elect to not take this step [moving the embassy], as it will have destructive consequences on the peace process, the two state solution and the safety and security of the region,” official PA news site Wafa reported on Monday, paraphrasing Abbas’s letter. Wafa did not specify exactly when the letter was sent to Trump.

Ariel Whitman and Adam Rasgon contributed to this report.

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