Saudi Arabia: Recognizing Jerusalem would hurt peace process

Saudi Ambassador to Washington warns Trump administration against recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of the state of Israel.

Elad Benari,

Trump and Saudi King Salman
Trump and Saudi King Salman

Saudi Arabia on Monday warned the United States against recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of the state of Israel, Reuters reported.

The Saudi Ambassador to Washington, Prince Khalid bin Salman, warned that any U.S. announcement on the status of Jerusalem before a final peace agreement is reached would hurt the peace process and heighten regional tensions.

“Any U.S. announcement on the status of Jerusalem prior to a final settlement would have a detrimental impact on the peace process and would heighten tensions in the region,” he said in a statement quoted by Reuters.

“The kingdom’s policy - has been - and remains in support of the Palestinian people, and this has been communicated to the U.S. administration,” added bin Salman.

His warning came amid speculation that U.S. President Donald Trump may declare that the U.S. recognizes Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and that such recognition could come as soon as Wednesday.

Arab leaders have warned against the move. The head of the Arab League, Ahmed Abul Gheit, on Sunday warned that a decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital would boost fanaticism and violence, and not serve the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

"It is unfortunate that some are insisting on carrying out this step without any regard to the dangers it carries to the stability of the Middle East and the whole world," Abul Gheit told reporters in Cairo.

Jordan’s Foreign Minister, Ayman Safadi, said on Sunday night he had spoken to U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson about the issue and told him that such a decision would trigger anger in the Arab world and jeopardize peace efforts.

On Monday, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag warned the U.S. that it could spark a “major catastrophe” if the status of Jerusalem is changed.

"If the status of Jerusalem is changed and another step is taken... that would be a major catastrophe. It would completely destroy the fragile peace process in the region, and lead to new conflicts, new disputes and new unrest," he said.