Saudis slam Trump's 'irresponsible' Jerusalem move

Trump prompted an almost universal diplomatic backlash and fears of new bloodshed in the Middle East
US President Donald Trump holds up a signed memorandum after he delivered a statement on Jerusalem from the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House in Washington DC on December 6 2017 Photo: SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images
By AFP
Thu 07 Dec 2017 08:21 AM

Saudi Arabia on Thursday slammed US President Donald Trump's decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital, calling the move "unjustified and irresponsible".

Trump ended seven decades of US ambiguity on the status of the disputed city on Wednesday, prompting an almost universal diplomatic backlash and fears of new bloodshed in the Middle East.

He also kicked off the process of moving the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

"The kingdom expresses great regret over the US president's decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel," said a Saudi royal court statement carried by the official Saudi Press Agency.

The decision goes against the "historical and permanent rights of the Palestinian people", the royal court said, calling on Trump to reconsider his decision.

"The kingdom has already warned of the serious consequences of such an unjustified and irresponsible move," the statement said.

"The US move represents a significant decline in efforts to push a peace process and is a violation of the historically neutral American position on Jerusalem."

Saudi King Salman on Tuesday had warned Trump that moving the US embassy for Israel to Jerusalem was a "dangerous step" that could rile Muslims worldwide.

Trump's announcement appears to have cast a pall over relations between Saudi Arabia and the US, which have warmed in the months after his election, with the president choosing the Gulf kingdom for his first overseas visit in May.

While the two countries have long been allies, Riyadh viewed Trump's predecessor Barack Obama as overly friendly with its arch-nemesis Iran.

Israel and Saudi Arabia have no official diplomatic relations.

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