UNITED NATIONS, (APP): Shortly after President Donald Trump’s speech on Wednesday unilaterally announcing, in a major policy shift, U.S recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said the status of the holy city must be determined in peace negotiations.
In a statement read to reporters, Guterres said there is “alternative to the two-state solution” and reiterated that Jerusalem should serve as the capital for both Israelis and Palestinians. “From day one as Secretary-General of the United-Nations, I have consistently spoken out against any unilateral measures that would jeopardize the prospect of peace for Israelis and Palestinians,” the secretary-general said.
The UN chief added, “Jerusalem is a final status issue that must be resolved through direct negotiations between the two parties on the basis of the relevant Security Council and General Assembly resolutions, taking into account the legitimate concerns of both the Palestinian and the Israeli sides.
“I understand the deep attachment that Jerusalem holds in the hearts of so many people. It has been so for centuries and it will always be. In this moment of great anxiety, I want to make it clear: there is no alternative to the two-state solution. There is no Plan B.
“It is only by realizing the vision of two states living side-by-side in peace, security and mutual recognition, with Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and Palestine, and all final status issues resolved permanently through negotiations, that the legitimate aspirations of both peoples will be achieved. For my part as the United Nations Secretary-General, I will do everything in my power to support the Israeli and Palestinian leaders to return to meaningful negotiations and to realize this vision of a lasting peace for both people.”
The UN chief took no questions. Announcing the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, Trump said he had initiated the process of relocating the U.S. embassy to the city from Tel Aviv. “While previous presidents have made this a major campaign promise, they failed to deliver,” he added.
“Today, I am delivering.” “My announcement today marks the beginning of a new approach to the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians,” Trump said from the White House, where he was joined by Vice President Mike Pence. Meanwhile, ABC News, citing a U.S. official and a source close to the White House, said prior to the announcement that official recognition of Jerusalem as the capital is expected to be intentionally broad and not meant to preclude the possibility that the Palestinians could claim part of the historic city as a capital of a future Palestinian state.
The president does not want to “prejudice” the outcome of any future peace negotiations for a two-state solution, ABC News said. “Jerusalem is not just the heart of three great religions, but it is now also the heart of one of the most successful democracies in the world,” Trump said Wednesday.
“Over the past seven decades, the Israeli People have built a country where Jews, Muslims, Christians, and people of all faiths are free to live and worship according to their conscience and beliefs.” The president also signed a six-month waiver of a 1995 law mandating an embassy move, thereby keeping the U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv for the time being as he initiates the process of relocating the embassy.