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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 12 December 2018

Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed holds talks over legal status of Jerusalem after US move

Crown Prince emphasises Arab co-ordination with the Grand Imam Dr Ahmed El Tayeb of Al Azhar over the legal status of the city

Palestinian protesters burn posters bearing portraits of Mike Pence during a demonstration at the Manger Square in the town of Bethlehem during the American VP's visit to Israel. AFP/Musa AL SHAER
Palestinian protesters burn posters bearing portraits of Mike Pence during a demonstration at the Manger Square in the town of Bethlehem during the American VP's visit to Israel. AFP/Musa AL SHAER

Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, discussed Arab co-ordination over the legal status of Jerusalem in a phone call on Sunday with the Grand Imam Dr Ahmed El Tayeb of Al Azhar.

Sheikh Mohammad was briefed about the outcomes of the Al Azhar International Conference in Support of Jerusalem, which was organised by the Grand Imam in co-operation with the Muslim Council of Elders. The groups discussed topics related to preserving the legal status of Jerusalem and reaffirming its identity as well as the importance of co-ordination between various bodies in the Arab and Islamic world in order to achieve solidarity, face down the challenges surrounding the Islamic shrines and ward off risks.

Sheikh Mohammad praised the initiatives launched by the Grand Imam to support Jerusalem, affirm its Arab character and build an Arab and Islamic stance towards protecting the Muslim shrines, reported state news agency Wam.

He also praised his positions supporting Muslims issues and his efforts to uphold the values of tolerance and coexistence to reject hate speech, which promotes violence and terrorism and distorts the image of Islam and its tolerant teachings.

The Grand Sheikh of Al Azhar thanked and appreciated the UAE’s stance and its support for all issues that serve Muslims, achieve their interests and defend their shrines.

In December, the Trump administration announced that it would be moving the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, a provocative move that led to massive international condemnation, and street protests across the Middle East that resulted in deaths and many injuries.

CNN reported at the weekend that the US had chosen a location for the new embassy and is hoping to move into the new facility next year.

Instead of a costly new build of a property, which would run into hundreds of million dollars and take many years, the state department will renovate an existing consular building in the West Jerusalem neighbourhood of Arnona.