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Arab FMs Meet in Amman to Discuss US Jerusalem Recognition


Arab foreign ministers and the head of the Arab League pose before their meeting to discuss the U.S decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital, in Amman, Jordan, Jan. 6, 2018. Petra News Agency/Handout

Arab foreign ministers met in the Jordanian capital, Amman, Saturday to discuss the ongoing dispute over President Donald Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Arab news channels interrupted their usual coverage to focus on the Arab foreign ministers' press conference in the Jordanian capital, which is the latest development in the ongoing controversy over the Trump administration’s controversial move.

Arab League head Ahmed Aboul Gheit told journalists that the guiding principle of Arab diplomacy regarding the Jerusalem controversy, in his view, was to preserve the legal status quo.

He said that no final decision has been reached about what to do, but the main goal of Arab diplomacy is to reduce any Palestinian losses or endorse any Israeli victories resulting from the U.S. decision.

Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi, who hosted the gathering of the Egyptian, Saudi, Jordanian and Moroccan foreign ministers, told journalists that the position of Jordan is to push for international recognition of a Palestinian state.

He said that the Jordanian position is to seek an international political decision to recognize a Palestinian state within the borders prior to June 4, 1967, with Jerusalem as its capital. He added that all efforts will be made, as well, to prevent other countries from following the U.S. example and moving their embassies to Jerusalem.

Safadi, in response to a journalist's question, later insisted that his country was not contemplating canceling its peace accord with Israel over the matter. He stressed that the "best way to resolve the conflict is to pressure the international community to block the U.S. decision and to push for a two-state solution entailing the recognition of a Palestinian state."

Foreign Minister Adel Jubeir told journalists that he and his fellow foreign ministers had discussed what collective action to take to support the Palestinians in rebutting the U.S. decision and ultimately resolving the Israeli-Arab conflict.

Jubeir also said that Arab foreign ministers discussed the ongoing regional conflicts in Syria, Yemen, and Libya, along with Iranian meddling in the region.

In other regional developments, Saudi Arabia offered financial incentives to a number of groups, including government workers and the military, following recent price increases on fuel and certain staples, according to Saudi Culture and Information Minister Awwad al-Awwad.

The Saudi daily newspaper al-Okaz reported that 11 princes from the ruling Saud family were arrested for protesting a government decision to stop paying their electricity bills.

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