Russia, China And India Remain Elusive On Status Of Jerusalem

Israeli flags fly near the Dome of the Rock in the Al-Aqsa mosque compound on December 5, 2017. The EU's diplomatic chief Federica Mogherini said that the status of Jerusalem must be resolved 'through negotiations', as US President Donald Trump mulls recognising the city as the capital of Israel. / …
THOMAS COEX/AFP/Getty

TEL AVIV — The foreign ministers of India, Russia and China pointedly avoided recognition of eastern sections of Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine during an annual meeting held in New Delhi a week after the U.S. recognized the city as Israel’s capital.

Their decision not to reiterate their governments’ positions on Jerusalem, according to a report in the Algemeiner, was in contrast to a call they issued jointly at last year’s meeting in Moscow for a “sovereign, independent, viable and united State of Palestine, with East Jerusalem as its capital.”  Eastern Jerusalem contains the Western Wall, Temple Mount and historically Jewish neighborhoods such as the Jewish Quarter in the Old City.

This year, during the 15th annual meeting, they issued a statement in support of “an independent, viable, territorially contiguous Palestinian State living side by side in peace and security with Israel within mutually agreed and internationally recognized borders,” without mentioning Jerusalem at all.

According to the Algemeiner, the three foreign ministers’ avoidance of mentioning Jerusalem is especially notable given the vociferous opposition to the White House move in Arab and Muslim countries. Turkey and Iran were the most vocal critics of U.S. President Donald Trump’s announcement. Both countries have close diplomatic and security ties with Russia, China and India.

A spokesperson from India’s External Affairs Ministry, when asked about New Delhi’s position on the U.S. announcement, said last week: “India’s position on Palestine is independent and consistent. It is shaped by our views and interests, and not determined by any third country.” Israel and India have been enjoying a flowering in ties, with a visit by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi highly publicized by the Prime Minister’s Office earlier this year.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry in April said in a statement that Moscow is committed “to the UN-approved principles for a Palestinian-Israeli settlement, which include the status of East Jerusalem as the capital of the future Palestinian state. At the same time, we must state that in this context we view West Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.” The statement also expressed Russia’s support for a two-state solution.

Meanwhile, China, a traditionally pro-Palestinian country, remained elusive regarding the American announcement.

“The question over the status of Jerusalem is complicated and sensitive,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said after Trump’s announcement, according to the Algemeiner. “All parties should be cautious in order to maintain peace. All parties should avoid shaking the long-term foundations of solving the Palestinian issues and avoid creating new divisions in the region.”

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