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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 15 December 2018

Abbas to discuss Trump move with Sisi in Cairo

Talks follow condemnation by Arab League of US president's decision that triggered protests in Arab and Muslim countries

Palestinian protesters run from falling tear gas canisters fired by Israeli forces during clashes near an Israeli checkpoint in the West Bank city of Ramallah as anger over the US president's controversial recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital continued to roil the occupied territories and the region on December 10, 2017. Abbas Momani / AFP
Palestinian protesters run from falling tear gas canisters fired by Israeli forces during clashes near an Israeli checkpoint in the West Bank city of Ramallah as anger over the US president's controversial recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital continued to roil the occupied territories and the region on December 10, 2017. Abbas Momani / AFP

Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas will travel to Cairo on Monday for talks with Egyptian president Abdel Fattah El Sisi on US president Donald Trump's decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

Mr El Sisi invited Mr Abbas "to a bilateral summit for consultations on Monday in Cairo to discuss developments related to the United States' recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital", said Bassam Radi, a spokesman for the Egyptian presidency.

Palestine Liberation Organisation official Wasel Abu Yousef said he understood that Jordan's King Abdullah II would join the meeting, but there was no official confirmation of this.

The official Palestinian news agency Wafa said Mr Abbas and Mr El Sisi spoke by phone on Sunday and agreed "to continue consulting to coordinate common positions".

Mr Trump's move has drawn near universal condemnation, and Palestinian officials say Mr Abbas will refuse to meet US vice president Mike Pence when he travels to the region later this month.

Anger throughout the Muslim and Arab world has included protests in Egypt and Jordan, which also has a special role as the official custodian of Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem.

In Cairo, students and professors demonstrated at the prestigious Al Azhar University, a university spokesman said, with pictures on social media showing several hundred protesters. Dozens of students protested at two other Cairo universities.

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Arab foreign ministers on Saturday called on the United States to rescind its recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital and for the international community to recognise a Palestinian state.

In a resolution after an emergency meeting in Cairo, Arab League member ministers said the United States had "withdrawn itself as a sponsor and broker" of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process with its controversial move.

The ministers met at the league's headquarters in Cairo to formulate a response to the US decision.

Egypt's top Muslim and Christian clerics have both cancelled scheduled meetings with Mr Pence in protest at the Jerusalem decision.

Israel seized Arab east Jerusalem from Jordan in the 1967 Arab-Israeli War and later annexed it in a move never recognised by the international community.

The Palestinians want the eastern sector as the capital of their future state.

The international community does not recognise the ancient city as Israel's capital, insisting that the issue can only be resolved in negotiations.