French President Emmanuel Macron on Friday spoke out against the relocation of the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, saying it was the wrong move.
Macron made the remarks at the International Economic Forum in St. Petersburg, Russia, where he met Russian President Vladimir Putin.
"I openly stated this was a mistake. I think that we should avoid escalating the tension in the region,” he said, according to the APA news agency.
Macron further reiterated he supports the “two-state solution”.
“France has always been committed to this decision. You cannot forget the people who live there. We must make sure that there are two states over there, each having its own capital and borders. Therefore, it seems to me that the decision to relocate the embassy was a wrong and undesirable decision. We regret this," he said.
Macron had previously criticized Trump’s move, saying in March that the recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital was an "error" and that France has no plans to follow in Trump’s footsteps.
The French leader said he did not think Trump has "helped with resolving the conflict" between Israelis and Palestinian Arabs by recognizing Jerusalem, calling the move "a real error in this context."
If France did the same, opined Macron, "we would lose this status of honest broker, which is the only useful one for the region" — a status that the U.S. can no longer enjoy.”
About 60 Gazans were killed in violent riots and clashes along the Gaza border on the day the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem opened. While some were quick to link the embassy opening with the riots, the riots had been ongoing since March 30.
The State Department pointed out last week that Hamas is using the unveiling of the American embassy in Jerusalem as an "excuse" to encourage violence.
"We have watched the demonstrations over the past six weeks. These demonstrations are nothing new,” said State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert, adding, "If Hamas wants to use that as an excuse to rile people up and to encourage violence, that is their choice. It's an irresponsible choice."
(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)