Abbas says Jerusalem is eternal Palestinian capital, dismisses USA peace role

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Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Wednesday spoke with his Egyptian counterpart Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi by phone to discuss the US decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital, APA reports quoting Anadolu Agency.

In a pre-recorded speech played on Palestine TV, Abbas rejected Trump's announcement which included a decision to move the US embassy to Jerusalem, a move he said was "tantamount to the United States abdicating its role as a peace mediator". Rajoub also called for other Arab officials not to meet with Pence.

"Abbas affirmed the necessity of exerting all efforts, putting aside disputes and immediately acting to achieve national reconciliation to confront the great dangers facing our Palestinian issue on all levels", the official PA new site Wafa reported.

Pence is set to travel to Israel from December 17 to 19, where he is expected to address the country's parliament. It was not clear what Rajoub's remarks meant for the West Bank portion of Pence's trip.

Trump on Wednesday announced the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and instructed the state Department to begin preparing for the transfer of the U.S. Embassy in Israel from tel Aviv to Jerusalem. "We must do everything to avoid violence and to ensure the dialogue", - said the President of France.

Holy sites for Muslims, Christians and Jews are in Jerusalem, and Palestinians have long expressed a desire to establish the capital of a future state in the city.