CAIRO – The international community expressed concern Wednesday ahead of President Donald Trump’s impending announcement that the United States recognizes Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and that the American Embassy will be moved to the Holy City.
In a speech scheduled for 1800 GMT, Trump is expected to make the US the first country to accept Israel’s claim to sovereignty over all of Jerusalem, fulfilling a campaign promise to move the embassy from Tel Aviv.
“My thoughts go to Jerusalem and I cannot keep silent my deep concern for the situation that has been created in the past days,” Pope Francis said.
“I pray to the Lord that its identity is preserved and strengthened for the benefit of the Holy Land, the Middle East and the whole world and that wisdom and prudence prevail to prevent new elements of tension from being added to a global context already convulsed by so many cruel conflicts,” the pontiff said.
Jordan, at the request of Palestine, called for an emergency meeting of the Arab League on Saturday, while Turkey convened a summit of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation on Dec. 13 in Istanbul.
“Jerusalem is a red line for all Muslims. We could arrive at a point when we have to cut our diplomatic relations with Israel if this happens,” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned.
China expressed concern about a possible escalation of tensions in the Middle East.
“The status of Jerusalem is very complicated and sensitive, all relevant parties should bear regional peace in mind,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said at a press conference in Beijing.
Geng said that China remains in favor of the creation of an independent state of Palestine based on the 1967 borders and with its capital in East Jerusalem.
“We call on relevant parties to follow the relevant resolutions of the UN Security Council and stay committed to resolving differences through negotiation,” Geng added.
A spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin said that while Moscow had concerns about the situation, it was too early to talk about the consequences of the possible moving of the US Embassy.
“However, we do not want to talk about the decisions that have not been announced yet,” Dmitry Peskov said.
The Syrian government said that the option of resistance was the best way to defend the interests of Muslims in general and the Palestinians in particular.
Damascus likewise criticized unnamed Arab governments for having normalized relations with Israel without demanding concessions on the Palestinian issue.
Morocco’s King Mohammed VI, in a letter addressed to Trump and delivered to the charge d’affaires at the US Embassy in Rabat, expressed his “deep concern and strong condemnation” of the proposed change in policy toward Jerusalem.