Erdoğan at OIC meeting: Washington no longer mediator in Israeli-Palestinian conflict

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This handout picture taken and released by the Turkish presidential press office on December 13, 2017, shows Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (C), Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (L) and Organization of Islamic Cooperation's Secretary General Yousef Al-Othaimeen (R) holding a press conference following the Extraordinary Summit of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) on last week's US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital, in Istanbul. Islamic leaders on December 13 urged the world to recognise occupied East Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine, as Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas warned the United States no longer had any role to play in the peace process. / AFP PHOTO

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said during an extraordinary Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) meeting in İstanbul on Wednesday that the US could no longer be a mediator in efforts to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict after its decision to recognize Israel as the capital of Israel.

According to Reuters, Erdoğan said: “We need to discuss who will be a mediator from now on. This needs to be tackled in the UN, too,” while addressing over 50 leaders of OIC member countries in İstanbul.

A communique posted on the Turkish Foreign Ministry website said the emirs, presidents and ministers gathered in İstanbul regarded Trump’s move “as an announcement of the U.S. Administration’s withdrawal from its role as sponsor of peace.”

The communique on the Turkish ministry website and a separate “İstanbul Declaration” distributed to journalists after the meeting said the leaders called on all countries to recognize East Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine.

“We invite the Trump Administration to reconsider its unlawful decision that might trigger … chaos in the region, and to rescind its mistaken step,” the declaration said.

Leaders including Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani and Jordan’s King Abdullah, a close US ally, all criticized Washington’s move.

“Jerusalem is and always will be the capital of Palestine,” Abbas said, adding that Trump’s decision was “the greatest crime” and a violation of international law.

Jerusalem, revered by Jews, Christians and Muslims alike, is home to Islam’s third holiest site and has been at the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for decades. Israel captured Arab East Jerusalem in 1967 and later annexed it in an action not recognized internationally.

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