US Jerusalem Move Could Return Region to ‘Darker Times’: EU’s Mogherini

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini
Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy at the Responding to Foreign Affairs and Security Challenges in the EU's Neighbourhood conference, 24 February 2015. Photo: Chatham House

BRUSSELS, (AFP) – U.S. President Donald Trump‘s decision to officially recognise Jerusalem as the Israeli capital could take the region “backwards to even darker times,” the E.U.’s diplomatic chief warned on Thursday.

“President Trump’s announcement on Jerusalem has a very worrying potential impact. It is a very fragile context and the announcement has the potential to send us backwards to even darker times than the ones we’re already living in,” Federica Mogherini told a press conference in Brussels.

The E.U., along with other major international powers, has repeatedly voiced deep concern this week about Mr. Trump’s declaration.

His move upends seven decades of U.S. ambiguity on the highly contentious status of the holy city, which is claimed by both Palestinians and Israelis.

Mr. Trump’s announcement sparked a Palestinian general strike and a call for a new “intifada” or uprising. The Israeli military deployed hundreds of more troops to the occupied West Bank.

Ms. Mogherini, who meets Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi in Brussels on Friday and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday, called for cool heads.

“What we truly need in these difficult times is wisdom and to listen to the wise voices calling for peace and peaceful reactions,” Ms. Mogherini said.

“We believe this difficult moment calls for an even stronger engagement for peace. The most urgent priority now is that all relevant actors avoid to further escalate tensions on the ground,” she added.