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PM May responds to US Jerusalem announcement

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UK Prime Minister Theresa May called the US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital “unhelpful” yesterday, as other world leaders reacted to US President Donald Trump’s announcement that the US Embassy will relocate to Jerusalem.

May confirmed that the UK has “no plans” to move the British Embassy from Tel Aviv and called the US announcement “unhelpful in terms of prospects for peace in the region”.

She said: “Our position on the status of Jerusalem is clear and long-standing: it should be determined in a negotiated settlement between the Israelis and the Palestinians, and Jerusalem should ultimately be the shared capital of the Israeli and Palestinian states.”

May called “on all parties to work together to maintain calm,” adding that “to have the best chances of success, the peace process must be conducted in an atmosphere free from violence”.

The EU expressed “serious concern” over the announcement, which France called “regrettable” and Germany clarified it “does not support”.

Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei said: “The declaration of Jerusalem as the capital of the Zionist entity was made out of despair and weakness. Their hands are tied on the issue of Palestine and they can’t achieve their goals.”

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told King Abdullah of Jordan during a meeting in Ankara yesterday that the move is “liable to produce a storm in the Islamic world, It will place landmines under the ground of peace and will ignite new tensions and conflicts”.

In a defiant tone, Hamas Spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said that Trump’s announcement “will not change the fact that al-Quds is Arab land”.

Israel’s Arab allies Egypt and Jordan warned that the move violates international law and Saudi Arabia said the announcement was irresponsible.

However, the Czech Republic last night announced that it would consider moving its embassy to Jerusalem and the Philippines relayed a message to Israel expressing its willingness to follow suit.

The UN Security Council is set to convene an emergency session to discuss the US announcement tomorrow.

Israeli security forces are on a state of high alert and the IDF has deployed soldiers at sensitive locations in Jerusalem.