The Russian Foreign Ministry has expressed "serious concern” over U.S. President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital, calling it a change in policy that risked destabilizing the Middle East.
Trump on Wednesday delivered on a campaign pledge to officially acknowledge Jerusalem as the Isreali capital. The U.S. State Department, he added, would move the U.S. consulate from Tel Aviv to the holy city.
The move was met with criticism from world leaders who say the decision may spark an uptick in violence across the region. Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas called Putin several days before Trump’s announcement, the Kremlin said.
“It is alarming that the U.S.’ new position on Jerusalem risks further complicating Palestinian-Israeli relations and the situation in the region as a whole,” the Foreign Ministry said in an online statement. “We call on all sides to show restraint and refrain from actions that could have unforeseeable consequences.”
The ministry also urged free access to religious sites in Jerusalem for people of all faiths.
Russia’s position on the issue remained unchanged, the ministry added. Russia says Israel and the Palestinians should work towards "a peaceful and secure Israel within internationally recognized borders while recognizing the Palestinian people’s aspirations for their own, independent state."
Russia considers a possible solution to be a Jerusalem that is the capital of two states: East Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state and West Jerusalem as the Israel capital.