The European Union will continue to pursue a two-state solution that would provide both Israel and Palestine with capitals in Jerusalem. The EU reaffirmed its position after U.S. President Donald Trump officially recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital, angering Muslims and American allies around the world.
On Dec. 6, Trump announced from the White House that he would begin a three-year process of relocating the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, The Guardian reports.
"I have determined that it is time to officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel," Trump said. "While previous presidents have made this a major campaign promise, they failed to deliver. Today, I am delivering."
The president added that his administration was not declaring whether or not Israel had claim to both East and West Jerusalem.
"We are not taking a position of any final status issues, including the specific boundaries of the Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem, or the resolution of contested borders," Trump said. "Those questions are up to the parties involved."
Jerusalem is home to shrines that are considered sacred by Christians, Jews and Muslims alike. Israel has held West Jerusalem since 1949 and captured East Jerusalem during the Six-Day War in 1967. Palestinians have aspired to make East Jerusalem their capital city and the United Nations does not consider Israel to hold sovereignty over the region, according to CNN.
On Dec. 7, EU High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini said during a news conference in Brussels that her group would redouble its efforts to broker a two-state solution between Israel and Palestine, Reuters reports.
"The European Union has a clear and united position," Mogherini said. "We believe the only realistic solution to the conflict between Israel and Palestine is based on two states and with Jerusalem as the capital of both."
Mogherini added that all of the 28 EU governments were committed to the two-state solution and that they would coordinate with the Middle East Quartet to progress peace negotiations. The EU, the UN, the U.S. and Russia are all members of the quartet, which mediates talks between Israel and Palestine.
"The European Union will engage even more with the parties and with our regional and international partners," Mogherini continued. We will continue working with the Middle East Quartet ... We remain convinced that the role of the United States ... is crucial."
U.S. allies in Europe had criticized Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital, expressing concerns that it would hinder peace negotiations and inflame civil unrest in the Middle East, The New York Times reports.
"Jerusalem is a final-status issue that must be resolved through negotiations between the two parties on the basis of the relevant Security Council and General Assembly resolutions, taking into account the legitimate concerns of both the Palestinian and the Israeli sides," UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said in a statement.