A collective stance


His Majesty King Abdullah’s working visit to the Vatican Tuesday for talks with His Holiness Pope Francis acquired an added significance since it took place in the wake of President Donald Trump’s provocative and unlawful recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and his decision to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

The issue and fate of Jerusalem have become the principal international concern ever since Trump’s move on Jerusalem in view of its impact and threat to regional and international peace and security. President Trump’s abrupt stance on the holy city has stirred regional and international concern and its fallout continues to reverberate across the globe.

The King pointed out during his audience with the Pope the far-reaching dire implications of Trump’s position on Jerusalem which he described as utterly illegal and contrary to international norms and UN resolutions. The King also reaffirmed his responsibility as the custodian of the Christian and Muslim holy places in East Jerusalem and his determination to continue his legal and historic mission as the protector of these holy places.

His Holiness the Pope shared the concerns and fears of the King on Jerusalem in the aftermath of Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and reiterated his position that the existing status quo in the city must be protected and preserved.

In this vein, the Pope expressed recognition and appreciation of the Hashemite custodianship of Christian and Muslim holy places in Jerusalem, which, he said, should be continued.

The Pope speaks on behalf of 1.2 billion Roman Catholics in the world and what he says on Jerusalem and on the need to preserve the legal and historical status quo in it must be heard loud and clear across the globe, including, of course, Washington.

The King’s visit to Paris for talks with French President Emmanuel Macron, which took place on the heels of the visit to the Vatican was also significant in timing and content.

The King’s talks with President Macron also came in the wake of the recent seismic developments in the region  triggered by President Trump’s universally condemned recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

The two leaders share common views and judgements on the broader issue of the Palestinian conflict, which can only be resolved on the basis of the two-state solution and also the recent tremors that ensued from Trump’s announcement.

Both leaders regard Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel as illegal and contrary to numerous UN resolutions and must therefore be viewed as null and void.

The final status of Jerusalem, the two leaders agreed during their joint press conference at the end of their talks, must be negotiated by Israel and the Palestinians and no unilateral decision on it is legitimate or legal.

To be sure, the two leaders touched upon other regional issues at their joint press conference including the need for a genuine and comprehensive political solution to the Syrian conflict.

The King and the French president have successfully forged common understanding and the meeting of the minds on bilateral and international issues.

The Jordanian-French partnership is a model on the basis of which much more can be built to further peace and stability in the Middle East.

SOURCE:   http://jordantimes.com/opinion/editorial/collective-stance

His Majesty King Abdullah is received by Pope Francis at the Vatican on Monday (Photo courtesy of Royal Court )

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