MIDDLE EAST

Jerusalem should be shared capital: UK

JERUSALEM SHOULD BE SHARED CAPITAL: UK

Jerusalem should be the shared capital of the "Israeli and Palestinian states", British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said Monday, following a meeting with Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki.

"I reiterated the UK's commitment to supporting the Palestinian people and the two-state solution, the urgent need for renewed peace negotiations, and the U.K.'s clear and longstanding position on the status of Jerusalem: it should be determined in a negotiated settlement between the Israelis and the Palestinians, and Jerusalem should ultimately be the shared capital of the Israeli and Palestinian states," he said, according to a statement by the Foreign Office.

"The U.K.-Palestinian relationship is strong and long-standing and it was a pleasure to meet Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki to discuss our shared desire to strengthen it further," he added.

British Prime Minister Theresa May had reacted to the U.S. President Donald Trump's controversial decision to recognize Jerusalem as the official capital of Israel last month.

"We want to see a negotiated settlement between the Israelis and Palestinians; we believe that should be based on a two-state solution that should be a sovereign and viable Palestinian state but also a secure and safe Israel," May had told lawmakers at the House of Commons.

Jerusalem remains at the heart of the Middle East conflict, with Palestinians hoping that East Jerusalem -- occupied by Israel since 1967 -- might eventually serve as the capital of an independent Palestinian state.

U.S. President Donald Trump illegitimately recognized on Dec. 6 Jerusalem as the capital of Israel despite worldwide opposition.

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