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Russia says US decision on Jerusalem may worsen Israeli-Palestinian conflict

MOSCOW (AFP): The decision by the United States to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel risks aggravating the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Russia’s foreign ministry said on Thursday while calling on all sides involved to show restraint.

Russia calls on all the parties concerned to refrain from actions that risk “dangerous and uncontrollable consequences”, the ministry said in a statement.

President Donald Trump on Wednesday recognised the disputed city of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital – a historic decision that overturns decades of US policy and risks triggering a fresh spasm of violence in the Middle East.

“I have determined that it is time to officially recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel,” Trump said from the White House. “It’s the right thing to do.”

The declaration calls into question seven decades of deliberate diplomatic ambiguity about the final status of a holy city vociferously claimed by both Israelis and Palestinians.

Trump also kicked off the process of moving the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, making good on a campaign promise dear to evangelical Christian and right-wing Jewish voters – as well as donors.

He said his decision marked the start of a “new approach” to solving the thorny conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. Trump’s predecessors – from Bill Clinton to George Bush – made similar promises on the campaign trail, but quickly reneged upon taking office, and the burden of war and peace.

This most unlikely of presidents, who came to office with no foreign policy experience and denouncing experts, was determined to show his arrival in Washington spells the end of business as usual.

“Many presidents have said they want to do something and they didn´t do it,” Trump said in the hours leading up to his historic address. “Whether it’s courage or they changed their mind, I can´t tell you,” he said. “I think it´s long overdue.”

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