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Turkey 'concerned' over Serbian embassy move to Jerusalem

Serbia will become the first European country to relocate its embassy to Jerusalem.

Date of publication: 6 September, 2020

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Serbia's decision to move its embassy to Jerusalem violates international law, Turkey's foreign ministry said.
Turkey's foreign ministry on Saturday expressed "deep concern" over Serbia's decision to relocate its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Serbia is set to become the third country to move its embassy to Jerusalem, after US President Donald Trump announced the move as part of a US-brokered accord on Friday.

Under the new agreement, Serbia has committed to opening a commercial office in Jerusalem this month and moving its embassy there in July, according to Trump.

The announcement drew criticisms from Turkey, which considered the move a violation of UN resolutions and said such decisions would obstruct peace efforts.

"We call upon all countries to comply with the UN resolutions on this matter, to respect the historical and legal status of Jerusalem and to refrain from acts that would further hamper the resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict," the Foreign Ministry said in a written statement.

Turkey's official response came after Serbian and Kosovar leaders met in a US-sponsored two-day dialogue in Washington where they agreed to normalise relations.

Most diplomatic missions in Israel have been in Tel Aviv as countries decided to remain neutral over the disputed city of Jerusalem until its status could be settled in a peace deal.

In 2017, US President Donald Trump recognised Jerusalem as Israel's capital and announced that the country's embassy was moving from Tel Aviv.

Palestinian officials have also slammed Serbia's decision, warning that the so-called peace plan does not serve peace in the Middle East.

Read more: Kosovo to recognise Israel, Serbia to relocate embassy to Jerusalem

"Palestine has become a victim of the electoral ambitions of President Trump, whose team would take any action, no matter how destructive for peace... to achieve his re-election," Saeb Erekat, the secretary-general of the Palestine Liberation Organization, said in a tweet.

Palestine's ambassador to Belgrade has also condemned the decision, warning that it would strain relations between Serbia and Palestinians.

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