Jordanian king warns Trump about moving US embassy to Jerusalem

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Abdullah tells US president such a move could threaten the two-state solution and have a detrimental effect on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict

Abdullah and the new US secretary of state Rex Tillerson (Reuters)
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Friday 3 February 2017 0:36 UTC
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Jordan's King Abdullah has warned Donald Trump against moving the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem during a meeting in Washington on Thursday, the Jordanian state news agency Petra reported.

Abdullah, the first Middle East leader to meet the US president since his inauguration, told Trump such a move could threaten the two-state solution and have a detrimental effect on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The White House said the two enjoyed a "good conversation" on a number of regional issues, but did not mention the US embassy relocation. 

The two leaders met at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, where Trump defended his ban on Muslims entering the United States.

Trump said he wanted to prevent a "beachhead of intolerance" from spreading in the United States. "The world is in trouble, but we're going to straighten it out, OK? That's what I do - I fix things," Trump said.

The King has been in Washington since Monday and has also met Trump's vice-president, Mike Pence, his defence secretary James Mattis, secretary of state Rex Tillerson and members of Congress.

On Tuesday, Abdullah told the US House of Representatives foreign affairs committee that senior the move would undermine the opportunities for peace and reaching the two-state solution and weaken the chances of a success in the war against terrorism.

Petra stated the king stressed "the importance of the sacred city of Jerusalem’s for Arab and Muslim peoples. Such step, the King explained, will increase the anger and despair among Arabs and Muslims, enabling extremists to further spread their dark ideologies and agendas."

A member of the committee told the Buzzfeed website that Abdullah noted that Israeli security officials were concerned such a move would drive new members to Islamic State.

Netanyahu is scheduled to meet Trump in Washington on 15 February.

Meanwhile, the White House on Thursday said it had not yet taken a position on the construction of new Israeli settlements, but suggested they "may not be helpful" in securing peace.

"While we don't believe the existence of settlements is an impediment to peace, the construction of new settlements or the expansion of existing settlements beyond their current borders may not be helpful," said spokesman Sean Spicer.