December 6, 2017 / 10:26 PM / 11 days ago

U.N. Security Council to meet Friday on Jerusalem: diplomats

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - The United Nations Security Council will meet on Friday at the request of eight states on the 15-member body over U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, diplomats said on Wednesday.

The request for U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to publicly brief the Security Council meeting was made by France, Bolivia, Egypt, Italy, Senegal, Sweden, Britain and Uruguay, said diplomats.

Trump abruptly reversed decades of U.S. policy on Wednesday, generating outrage from Palestinians and defying warnings of Middle East unrest. Trump also plans to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv.

Israel considers the city its eternal and indivisible capital and wants all embassies based there. Palestinians want the capital of an independent Palestinian state to be in the city’s eastern sector, which Israel captured in a 1967 war and annexed in a move never recognized internationally.

“The U.N. has given Jerusalem a special legal and political status, which the Security Council has called upon the international community to respect. That is why we believe the Council needs to address this issue with urgency,” Deputy Swedish U.N. Ambassador Carl Skau said on Wednesday.

A U.N. Security Council resolution adopted in December last year “underlines that it will not recognize any changes to the 4 June 1967 lines, including with regard to Jerusalem, other than those agreed by the parties through negotiations.”

That resolution was approved with 14 votes in favor and an abstention by former U.S. President Barack Obama’s administration, which defied heavy pressure from long-time ally Israel and Trump for Washington to wield its veto.

After Trump spoke on Wednesday, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told reporters: “I have consistently spoken out against any unilateral measures that would jeopardize the prospect of peace for Israelis and Palestinians.”

“In this moment of great anxiety, I want to make it clear: There is no alternative to the two-state solution. There is no Plan B,” he said. “I will do everything in my power to support the Israeli and Palestinian leaders to return to meaningful negotiations.”

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley praised Trump’s decision as “the just and right thing to do.”

Reporting by Michelle Nichols; Editing by James Dalgleish

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