Status of Jerusalem should be resolved through negotiations: top EU diplomat

Source: Xinhua| 2017-12-05 21:19:20|Editor: Yurou
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U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson (L) meets with EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini at EU headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, Dec. 5, 2017. (Xinhua/The European Union)

BRUSSELS, Dec. 5 (Xinhua) -- EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini on Tuesday warned her U.S. counterpart that the status of Jerusalem should be resolved through negotiations, as the White House was reportedly mulling recognizing the city as Isreal's capital.

Speaking to reporters following a meeting with visiting U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Mogherini reiterated the EU's stance that the bloc supports a two-state solution, warning that "any action that would undermine these efforts must absolutely be avoided".

"A way must be found through negotiations to resolve the status of Jerusalem as the future capital of both states, so that the aspiration of both parties can be fulfilled," she said.

Mogherini said she is set to discuss the issue with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu next Monday in Brussels and with Palestinian President Abbas later at the beginning of next year.

Last week, U.S. President Donald Trump was reportedly mulling the imminent relocation of the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and formal recognition of the city as Israel's capital.

Israel has controlled the western part of Jerusalem since its inception in 1948. In 1967, after the Mideast war, Israel captured the eastern part of Jerusalem from Jordan and declared both parts its united capital.

The move was never recognized by the international community, including Israel's closest ally, the United States.

The Palestinians see eastern Jerusalem as the future capital of their state.

Jerusalem is home to sites holy to Islam, Judaism and Christianity, making it a focal point for many people around the globe.

The Middle East issue is top on the agenda of Mogherini's meeting with Tillerson, who kicked off his five-day official trip Monday to Europe amid media speculation that Trump was planning to fire the top U.S. diplomat.

Trump, however, on Friday denied the media speculation, calling the reports "fake news". Tillerson himself also brushed off the reports, calling them "laughable".

The purpose of this trip, a senior U.S. State Department official requiring anonymity said during a Friday teleconference with media, was to "reiterate America's commitment to the transatlantic alliance" and commitment to the defense of Western institutions and the West as a community of shared interests and values.

The transatlantic relations have been frayed as the Trump administration decided to pull out of the Paris Agreement on climate change and Iran nuclear deal, two diplomatic accomplishments on which the EU set a premium.

Brussels is the first leg of Tillerson's trip, followed by Vienna and France.

Tillerson is expected to meet his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov in Vienna on the sidelines of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe ministerial meeting on Thursday.

The two chief diplomats will "have a fairly robust set of discussions on a lot of global issues -- DPRK (the Democratic People's Republic of Korea), Ukraine, and certainly Syria", according to the U.S. State Department.