Tuesday 12th December, 2017
3.4
2 ℃ | 14 ℃Ankara
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ISTANBUL, PAKISTAN - The news of the United States' intention to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel dominated talks Wednesday between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and King Abdullah II of Jordan. In statements to the media at the presidential palace, both leaders voiced concern.

'If the wrong step is taken regarding Jerusalem's status, it will be the cause of indignation in the Islamic world,' Erdogan said, adding that it will 'dynamite the ground for peace, igniting new tensions and clashes.'

Abdullah, underlining Jordan's role as guardian of Muslim and Christian sites in Jerusalem, said he had spoken Tuesday with U.S. President Donald Trump, and had raised his concerns. The king said the Palestinians' cause remains the central issue in the region and the current tensions over Jerusalem reaffirmed the need for a peace settlement.

A view of Jerusalem Old City, seen from Mount of Olives, Dec. 6, 2017.

'It is imperative now to work fast to reach a final status solution and a peace agreement between Palestinians and Israelis, and this must allow the Palestinians to establish their independent state side-by-side with Israel and its capital in East Jerusalem,' Abdullah said. 'Ignoring the Palestinians and Christian rights in Jerusalem will only fuel further extremism.'

Abdullah backed the Turkish president's call for an emergency meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, OIC, in Istanbul next Wednesday. Turkey currently heads the group of 57 Muslim nations.

'I want to make the following call to the whole world from here: Any steps to change Jerusalem's legal status should be avoided,' Erdogan said. 'Such a step would only play into the hands of terrorist organizations.'

Erdogan has been speaking to Muslim leaders to lobby against any move by Washington to change Jerusalem's status.

The Turkish president's efforts are expected to intensify ahead of next week's meeting of Muslim countries' leaders in Istanbul.

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