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SLMC condemns US for naming Jerusalem

The Sri Lanka Muslim Congress has condemned the decision by the United States President to recognise the City of Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

"On behalf of the SLMC, I wish to reiterate that we subscribe to the universally accepted legitimate claim and assertion that Jerusalem is the shared capital of Israel and the state of Palestine. This has been the collective demand of the International Community endeavouring to witness peace. This is also the position of the government of Sri Lanka,"Sri Lanka Muslim Congress Leader and City Planning and Water Supply Minister Rauff Hakeem said in a statement.

"We applaud the statement by Foreign Minister Tilak Marapane, who on the record firmly differed from the position expounded by the US President who tilted the status quo by announcing the recognition of the City as the capital of Israel while the people of Palestine are yet deprived of Palestinian statehood.

"We must understand that the histories of Palestine, Israel and the holy city of Jerusalem is far removed from Arab history and Arab States which are traced to Colonial cartography. These are ancient lands of ancient people whose destinies are yet to be resolved. Jerusalem is house of one God, two peoples and the temple of three faiths. The new US position only aggravates the differences and does not encourage Israel to negotiate with the people of Palestine in a spirit of compromise. The US decision, unilaterally taken, not only violates United Nations resolutions but has the potential to alter the character or the status of Jerusalem or the long standing principles and could seriously undermine all the peace efforts in the region.

"Therefore, we urge the United States government to rescind this decision that violates international legitimacy and could dampen the prospect of peace,"the statement said.