East Jerusalem should be declared Palestinian state's capital, say Muslim world leaders

Draft Organisation of Islamic Cooperation declaration says Washington decision to recognise holy city as Israeli means US can no longer be 'unbiased' sponsor in peace talks

Wednesday 13 December 2017 16:29
Palestinian President: 'We will not accept any American role in the political process from now on'

East Jerusalem must be recognised by the world as the capital of an independent Palestinian state, more than 50 Muslim nations have said, in a move designed to counter Donald Trump's decision to recognise the contested city as Israeli.

A draft declaration from an extraordinary Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) meeting was distributed to reporters on Wednesday. The Trump administration's move is "null and void" and means that the US can no longer act as an "unbiased" sponsor in Middle East peace talks, it read.

The 57-member strong body is meeting in Istanbul to hammer out a unified response from the Muslim world to last week's unprecedented move from the US.

The US president shocked even some of his county's closest allies on 6 December by following though with a campaign trail promise to formally recognise the holy city as Israel’s undivided capital.

Israel annexed east Jerusalem in 1967 in a move that has never been recognised internationally. Both sides claim it as their capital and the city's status remains a major stumbling block in peace talks.

While welcomed by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, many other world leaders - including the US Middle Eastern allies Turkey and Saudi Arabia - have expressed concern that the controversial move could spark renewed violence in the region and wider Muslim world.

Sarah Huckabee Sanders: Jerusalem decision not a sign that US is pulling out of peace process

Four Palestinians have died in clashes in Gaza and the West Bank and protests have smouldered across the globe for six consecutive days.

Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas told the OIC conference that Mr Trump's announcement was a "crime" that threatens world peace, calling on the UN to lead negotiations in the intractable conflict.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan added that the US' role is now "over" in brokering peace in the region.

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