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Canada not to move its embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv, says FM

Xinhua,December 07, 2017 Adjust font size:

OTTAWA, Dec. 6 (Xinhua) -- Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland Wednesday said Canada's longstanding position is that the status of Jerusalem can be resolved only as part of a general settlement of the Palestinian-Israeli dispute.

"We are strongly committed to the goal of a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East, including the creation of a Palestinian state living side-by-side in peace and security with Israel," Freeland said in a statement after U.S. President Trump announced to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital and demanded the State Department to develop a plan to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

She said the Canadian embassy will remain in Tel Aviv and its policy on Jerusalem won't change. The city's status can only be determined as part of peace talks.

"We call for calm and continue to support the building of conditions necessary for the parties to find a solution," added the Canadian foreign minister in the statement.

Despite urgent appeals from Arab and European leaders and the risk of anti-American protests and violence, Trump Wednesday declared it was time for a new approach to Mideast peace after decades of failure. Calling Jerusalem Israel's capital, he said, was merely recognizing the obvious.

The Canadian media reported that Freeland has been briefed on the announcement in a call Monday with U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

The U.S. policy change "is a declaration of withdrawal from the role it has played in the peace process," said Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas.

Ahead of Trump's announcement, Arab and Muslim leaders spoke about the potential for violence. In Gaza, hundreds of Palestinian protesters burned American and Israeli flags. They also waved Palestinian flags and banners proclaiming Jerusalem as their "eternal capital." Enditem