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Foreign Minister: Czechs not abandoning EU stance on Jerusalem

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Brussels, Dec 11 (CTK) – Foreign ministers of other EU states do not feel that the Czech Republic would abandon the common stance of the European Union on the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, outgoing Czech Foreign Minister Lubomir Zaoralek told journalists on Monday.

He said it was rather easy to explain to his colleagues that the Czech Foreign Ministry’s statement made last week presented the official position of the Czech Republic.

Zaoralek recently discussed the issue with EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini.

Last week, U.S. President Donald Trump said the United States was preparing a plan of transferring its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

In an immediate reaction to Trump, Zaoralek’s office said the Czech Republic may be considering the transfer of its embassy only after discussing the issue with its partners. The country considers Jerusalem the future capital of Israel and the state of Palestine, as do the other EU members, the ministry wrote.

Zaoralek said Monday the EU member states do not disagree on Jerusalem, even though individual countries emphasise various aspects of the issue.

Czech President Milos Zeman openly supported the idea of the Czech embassy moving from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, while Czech Prime Minister-designate Andrej Babis is against it. Babis said further tension should not be created in the Middle East.

Zaoralek talked to journalists on the margin of a meeting of the foreign ministers of the EU countries and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held on Monday.

Netanyahu is the first Israeli prime minister to attend a meeting of an EU body after more than 20 years. He said Monday he hoped that most EU countries would follow the U.S. example and move their embassies to Jerusalem as well.

Zaoralek said Netanyahu presented the current situation in Israel and the developments in the Middle East at the meeting this morning.

He said Netanyahu made his presentation as an impulse for the EU representatives to make progress on the status of Jerusalem, which was the key issue Monday.

Zaoralek said Netanyahu is aware of the responsibility for finding a solution to the situation that lies on him and Palestinian National Authority head Mahmoud Abbas.

He said there is an effort to make a deal that would be stable and would calm down the situation, Zaoralek added.

Israel and the EU differ on the nuclear pact made with Iran. The EU considers the nuclear deal a step that contributes to the stability in the region and the whole world, while Israel points to the risks related to the step, Zaoralek said.

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