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Germany warns US of recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital

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Germanys foreign minister has urged the White House of taking the decision, saying it "does not calm a conflict." Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas said Donald Trump called to tell him he plans to recognize Jerusalem.

German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel on Tuesday warned the US about the dangers of moving the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. "Recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel does not calm a conflict, rather it fuels it even more," Gabriel said. "Its in everyones interest that this does not happen." 

Gabriels remarks come as the White House has suggested it may take the decision to relocate its embassy and recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. On Tuesday, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said US President Donald Trump called to inform him of plans to move the US embassy, reported the Palestinian Authoritys official news agency.

Abbas "warned of the dangerous repercussions of such step on the (long-stalled) peace process, security and stability in the region and the world," said Palestinian presidential spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh.

The Jerusalem question

The status of Jerusalem has been a key stumbling block during previous peace negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians, in particular regarding the question of how to divide sovereignty and oversee holy sites. Another major issue is illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank. 

The international community has never recognized Jerusalem as Israels capital or its unilateral annexation of territory around the citys eastern sector, which it captured during the 1967 Six-Day War. However, Israeli officials have urged the Trump administration to take the decision.

Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman called on the White House to take the "historic opportunity" to recognize Jerusalem as Israels capital, saying he hopes to "see an American embassy here in Jerusalem next week or next month."

ls/jm (AP, dpa, Reuters)
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