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Australia May Move Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem

16 October, 2018, 13:54 | Author: Lucille Rivera
  • The new Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison attends a news conference in Canberra Australia Au

Morrison, whose government faces a crucial by-election that could weaken its grip on power, said Canberra was open to recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital and moving its embassy there.

Indonesia is considering putting its imminent trade deal with Australia on hold over the Prime Minister Scott Morrison's statement he would consider moving the Australian embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.

Responding to Morrison's statements on Tuesday, the opposition Labor Party said the prime minister should put Australia's national interest ahead of his own.

However, given that one of Indonesia's foremost foreign policy positions is support for a Palestinian state, Mr Morrison's declaration in support of Jerusalem as Israel's capital has not gone down well in Jakarta.

He added that, in the next few months, he would "confer with cabinet colleagues" and "with other leaders around the world to gauge the perception of this and to make the case". "I think we have to challenge that", Morrison said earlier in Canberra.

Morrison also announced Australia would vote against a United Nations resolution this week to recognise the Palestinian Authority as the chair of the Group of 77 developing countries.

Mr Morrison has also announced the government would review Australia's support for the Iran nuclear deal to see whether it was still "fit for purpose" in preventing the country from acquiring nuclear weapons after Mr Trump withdrew the United States from the Obama-era deal.

Ambassadors from 13 Arab countries met in Canberra on Tuesday and agreed to send a letter to Australia's foreign minister expressing their concern, Egyptian ambassador to Australia Mohamed Khairat said.

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Mr Morrison said he spoke to Joko Widodo overnight as part of the countries' management of the relationship.

Asked about the government's review of the agreement, which the Israeli government has vehemently opposed, Mr Sofer said Australia is a major player on the global arena. "We will continue to strengthen ties between", he said in the Tweet.

"No decision has been made regarding the recognition of a capital or the movement of an embassy...but at the same time, what we are simply doing is being open to that suggestion", Morrison said.

Morrison is a member of the Liberal party that in June of this year saw its members vote in favor of a non-binding motion to urge the government to move its embassy.

The Palestinians, with broad global backing, want East Jerusalem as the capital of a future state that they hope to establish in the occupied West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

The former government headed by PM Malcolm Turnbull rejected relocating the country's embassy to Jerusalem.

Trump's Jerusalem move marked the first time since the UN-brokered partition of Palestine in 1947 that a president of the USA - a member of the Middle East Quartet, which is charged with mediating the peace process between Palestine and Israel - has departed from the established policy that the issue of Jerusalem as Israel's capital should be kept off the table.

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