European Union (EU) leaders on Thursday rejected U.S. President Donald Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as the Israeli capital, saying they stuck by their view that the city's status should be settled by negotiation.
"EU leaders reiterate firm commitment to the two-state solution and, in this context, the EU position on Jerusalem remains unchanged," EU President Donald Tusk tweeted after the leaders of the bloc's 28 countries discussed the matter at a summit in Brussels, according to AFP.
The EU has voiced alarm at Trump’s decision, with foreign policy head Federica Mogherini warning last week that it could take the situation "backwards to even darker times".
But Thursday's statement by the bloc's heads of state and government adds fresh weight to the criticism of Trump's move.
The EU has long maintained that the only way to peace is two states -- Israel and Palestine -- with Jerusalem as the capital of both and the borders returned to their status before the 1967 Six Day War.
Earlier this week, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu met in Brussels with European leaders, including Mogherini, who reiterated the EU’s position that it would not recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in the absences of a final status agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
A day earlier, Netanyahu met French President Emmanuel Macron, who pressed Netanyahu to restrict the growth of Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria, and urged him to present goodwill gestures to the Palestinian Authority in a bid to reboot final status negotiations, which have been frozen since 2014.
Tusk’s announcement came hours after a report said that Macron and Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel are advancing an initiative pushing back Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
According to Channel 10 News, the proposal will assert that Jerusalem must serve as a joint capital for both Israel and a future Palestinian state.
Israeli officials who spoke to Channel 10 on condition of anonymity said that the Foreign Ministry has instructed its diplomatic mission to the EU to attempt to halt the process. Such a proposal would need the support of all 28 EU member states to be accepted.