US recognition of Jerusalem undermines its role as honest peace broker: FM Asif

The OIC summit seeks to marshal Muslim leaders towards a coordinated response to US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital

Mona Khan
The OIC summit seeks to marshal Muslim leaders towards a coordinated response to US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel´s capital

ISTANBUL: Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif represented Pakistan in a meeting of foreign ministers at the extraordinary summit of Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), stating the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel undermines the role of the United States as an honest peace broker.

Leaders of the Muslim world are attending the OIC on Wednesday in Istanbul, looking to rally for a coordinated response to US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. 

Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi arrived in Turkey on Tuesday to attend the special summit on Al-Quds Al-Sharif (Jerusalem), accompanied by Asif and Chief Minister Punjab Shehbaz Sharif.

Abbasi will lead the Pakistani delegation at the summit today, which will be held shortly and chaired by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, whose country holds the rotating chairmanship of the OIC.

"FM Asif underscored at OiC CFM that US recognition of Jerusalem undermines its role as an honest broker in the peace process," Foreign Office spokesperson Dr Mohammad Faisal tweeted.

"FM Asif said at OIC CFM that US decision to recognize Jerusalem contrary to international legality."

"FM Asif asked CFM Istanbul If UN Security unable to act, OIC should call for UN General Assembly emergency session."

Trump's announcement last week prompted an outpouring of anger in the Muslim and Arab world, where tens of thousands of people took to the streets to denounce Israel and show solidarity with the Palestinians.

The decision has sparked protests in Palestinian territories, with four Palestinians killed so far in ensuing clashes and air strikes and hundreds wounded.

Pakistan strongly condemned Trump's move to recognise Jerusalem as the Israeli capital, voicing its concern "over the implications of this decision for international peace and security, especially in the Middle East", according to a Foreign Office statement.

A statement from the Prime Minister Office had stated that it is "deeply regrettable that pleas from states across the globe not to alter the legal and historical status of Al-Quds Al-Sharif have been ignored, more out of choice than necessity."

The Government of Pakistan had also welcomed the announcement by Turkey to convene an extraordinary Islamic Summit to discuss this serious issue.

´Adding fuel to the flames´

Turkish officials said close to 30 Muslim leaders had confirmed their participation in the Istanbul summit as of Tuesday afternoon.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, Jordanian King Abdullah II and Lebanese President Michel Aoun are among the heads of state attending. Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas will also be present.

However, the level of Saudi representation -- critical if the final statement is to carry credibility -- was unclear.

Arab countries have so far condemned Israel without announcing any concrete measures.

Arab League foreign ministers in a resolution after an emergency meeting in Cairo on Saturday urged Washington to rescind its Jerusalem move and for the international community to recognise a Palestinian state.

Jerusalem´s status is perhaps the most sensitive issue in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Israel sees the entire city as its undivided capital, while the Palestinians want the eastern sector as the capital of their future state.

In intensive telephone diplomacy in the last days, Erdogan has sought to win support from leaders beyond the Muslim world.

At a joint press conference after talks in Ankara late Monday, Erdogan said he and Russian President Vladimir Putin had taken a similar approach on the issue, accusing Israel of continuing to "add fuel to the flames".

--With additional input from AFP