Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said it is up to Palestinian and Israeli negotiators to determine Jerusalem’s ultimate status despite the Trump administration’s decision this week to recognize the city as Israel’s capital and move the U.S. embassy there.
Tillerson, who joined an international meeting to shore up support for Lebanon, spoke amid ongoing clashes and protests following President Donald Trump’s statement.
Tillerson told reporters the move, likely to take months, does not change the city’s disputed status.
“The president indicated in his statement that his decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and his direction to the State Department to begin the process of moving the embassy did not indicate any final status for Jerusalem,” he said. “And I think he was very clear that the final status of Jerusalem � including the borders � would be left to the parties to negotiate and decide.”
French Foreign Minister Jean Yves Le Drian suggested in a radio interview that Washington’s decision on Jerusalem leaves it sidelined in Middle East peace negotiations, although the European Union’s foreign envoy said the United States remains a key player.
Concern over the Trump administration’s Jerusalem move colored discussions among international envoys in Paris, even though the topic of Friday’s meeting was actually Lebanon.
French President Emmanuel Macron called for an end to foreign meddling in Lebanon, where Iran and Saudi Arabia have vied for influence. He also warned against further instability in the region following the U.S. announcement on Jerusalem.
For his part, Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri appealed for more international support so his country can cope with a flood of Syrian refugees. There now are plans for another international conference on that topic in Brussels.
On another front, Tillerson called on Saudi Arabia to be more measured toward Yemen. He reiterated appeals for the Saudis to end a blockade preventing food deliveries to the war-torn country, which is threatened with famine.
Source: Voice of America