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ARAB-US RELATIONS - Aug. 5 - UAE Warns Against Embassy Move.

The UAE warns the US that even the slightest hint of moving its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem would damage its credibility as an impartial ME peace broker. 'WAM' reports Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Shaikh Hamdan Bin Zaid Al Nahayan, expressed astonishment at the failure of the US, a close ally of GCC states, to back the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes. 'WAM' says: "Shaikh Hamdan condemned the mere hint of moving the US embassy to Jerusalem, saying that this would be a violation of international laws and resolutions and would strip the US of the label of an impartial [ME peace] broker". The agency says Shaikh Hamdan "expressed hope that the US would not venture such a step which would have deep implications on the Islamic world as a whole".

(In July, US Pres. Clinton hinted that he was considering moving the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and said that he would take a decision by the end of 2000. The comments angered Palestinians and other Arabs who regard East Jerusalem, occupied by Israel in the 1967 ME war and later annexed, as the capital of a future Palestinian state. The future of Jerusalem was a major stumbling block that prevented Palestinians and Israelis from reaching a deal in 15 days of US-sponsored talks at Camp David. A Sept. 13 deadline was agreed to try to ease out differences. Palestinian Pres. Arafat said he would declare an independent Palestinian state if a deal was not reached by then. The US administration warned it would review relations with the Palestinians if they took any unilateral steps.)

Shaikh Hamdan says the future and status of Jerusalem "extends beyond the Palestinian people and its leadership and the Arab states" because it is a holy city for all religions, adding: "It is thus important for all Arabs and Muslims and all supporters of peace and justice in the world". The minister says: "The right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes from which they were displaced in 1948 was guaranteed by all international covenants, foremost the UN covenant". 'WAM' adds that Shaikh Hamdan expressed surprise at the US' failure to stand "strongly and clearly to the side of this right when its policy is based on respect of human rights and evaluates its relations with other state on the basis of respect for these rights". (Also, on Aug. 4, Jordanian police clashed with Islamists protesting against the embassy move. The march was planned by the Islamic Action Front (IAF), the country's main opposition party.)
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Title Annotation:United Arab Emirates
Publication:APS Diplomat Recorder
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Aug 5, 2000
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