Washington: Representing the global voice of dissent against the Trump decision, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres Thursday said that the holy city is the final status issues and must be resolved through direct negotiations.
“In this moment of great anxiety, I want to make it clear: there is no alternative to the two-state solution.
There is no Plan B,” Guterres told reporters at the UN headquarters in New York.
He said that he has consistently spoken out against any unilateral measures that would jeopardise the prospect of peace for Israelis and Palestinians.
“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,” Guterres said.
He said that it is only by realising the vision of two states living side-by-side in peace, security and mutual recognition, with Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and Palestine, and all final status issues resolved permanently through negotiations, that the legitimate aspirations of both peoples will be achieved.
“For my part as the United Nations Secretary-General, I will do everything in my power to support the Israeli and Palestinian leaders to return to meaningful negotiations and to realise this vision of a lasting peace for both people,” Guterres added.
US Senator Bob Corker, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said the announcement recognises what has been true for almost 70 years, namely that Jerusalem is Israel’s seat of government.
Nicholas Burns, a former top American diplomat described this as a “deeply unwise” decision.
“Trump’s Jerusalem decision will weaken the US credibility, inflame passions in the Muslim world and put our own American diplomats at risk,” he said.
Earlier, the Trump administration officials said that finding appropriate land and construction of a new embassy would take at least a couple of years and Trump would continue to give waiver as required by the Congress – for not moving its diplomatic mission to Jerusalem.
Trump’s action enjoys broad bipartisan support in the Congress, the officials said.
After the decision, Trump said that he is dispatching Vice President Mike Pence to the Middle East.
“Vice President Pence will travel to the region in the coming days to reaffirm our commitment to work with partners throughout the Middle East to defeat radicalism that threatens the hopes and dreams of future generations,” Trump said.
With Pence standing by his side in the diplomatic room of the White House wherein he announced his decision, Trump said it is time for the many who desire peace to expel the extremists from their midst.
“It is time for all civilised nations and people to respond to disagreement with reasoned debate – not violence.
And it is time for young and moderate voices all across the Middle East to claim for themselves a bright and beautiful future,” the President said.
No dates for Pence’s travel were announced.
Pence described this as “a historic step” to make it clear that America stands with its allies, especially its cherished ally Israel.
“President Trump is a man of his word, and is committed to keep the promise he made to the American people. For nearly 20 years, Congress and successive administrations have expressed a willingness to move the American embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Yet more than two decades of talk has resulted in no action – until now,” Pence said.
With the announcement, Trump has ignored dire warnings from Saudi Arabia’s King Salman and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, America’s closest allies in the Middle East.
Jordan’s King Abdullah II had said Jerusalem is the key to stability of entire Middle East.
The international community considers east Jerusalem illegally occupied by Israel and most countries have their embassies in Tel Aviv. PTI