Australia’s Prime Minister announced that his country is considering the possibility of transferring its embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
Like the United States, Australia’s Prime Minister announced today that his country is considering the possibility of transferring its embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The announcement has been said to be geared towards internal elections in Canberra, an attempt to win the votes of Jewish voters in the district.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said in a press conference that he was “open” to proposals to formally recognize Jerusalem as “the capital of Israel” and move his country’s embassy there, just as the United States did in May. Hours after announcing the idea, Morrison said he wanted to “poll the views” of the region’s leaders on the resolution “before the government took a specific stance on the issue.”
Although the prime minister said his country was “committed to a two-state solution,” his move was seen as a “breach” of the policies pursued by successive Australian governments for decades.
Following the announcement, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu chirped through his Twitter account:
I spoke today with Australian PM @ScottMorrisonMP. He informed me that he is considering officially recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel & moving the Australian embassy to Jerusalem. I’m very thankful to him for this. We will continue to strengthen ties between 🇮🇱 & 🇦🇺!
— Benjamin Netanyahu (@netanyahu) October 15, 2018
Morrison said: “Frankly, things are not going well (with the two-state solution), there has not been much progress, and we should not continue to do the same thing and expect different results.” His controversial move, as he himself stated, was sparked accusations by some of his opponents – who accused him of using the announcement at this time “to win votes in sub-legislative elections in a circle dominated by Jews in Sydney.” Opinion polls indicate that Morrison, the Liberal Party candidate, has lost popularity and, if defeated, will lose the majority seat in parliament.
Against this background, the spokesperson of the opposition Workers’ Party, accused Morrison of announcing his decision to “entice more voters.”
“Scott Morrison is so desperate to stay in office that he is willing to say anything if he thinks it will bring him more votes, even at the expense of Australia’s national interest,” she said.
However, Morrison, who became prime minister last August, denied the charges against him, including those that speak of the “impact” of U.S. President Donald Trump on his decisions, saying: “This decision was made without any interference from the United States”. He added that this issue “was not raised in discussions with the President or U.S. officials.”
Indonesia considers freezing trade deal with Australia
In response to Morrison’s comments on the recognition of Jerusalem as “the capital of Israel,” Indonesia today threatened the possibility of “freezing an important trade deal it had signed with Canberra.” According to Hebrew newspaper Maariv, a senior Indonesian official said, “Indonesian Foreign Minister Ratno Marsoudi has sent numerous letters to her Australian counterpart expressing concern about the issue.”
“The ambassador of Australia in Jakarta was summoned for an urgent interview with the Indonesian Foreign Ministry to clarify the matter.” The foreign ministers of both countries are also expected to meet today in the Indonesian capital to discuss the issue and try to clarify it.
Morrison said he was “in contact with Indonesian President Goku Vadudu and that they talked about the matter.” “This is normal in our relations,” Morrison said. “I am happy to explain very clearly the substance of the declaration. I was very satisfied with the response we received. “I, and President Vadudu will continue to work closely with our allies all over the world on such issues.”
Palestinian Foreign Minister “saddened”
Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki said today that “reports indicating the possibility of changing Australia’s policy toward Jerusalem call for grief.” “I am saddened by the possibility that Australia will violate international law and UN Security Council resolutions,” he told a joint news conference with Indonesian Foreign Minister Ratno Marchudi. He saw Australia’s move as “a risk for trade and business relations with the rest of the world, especially the Arab and Islamic worlds.” Egypt’s ambassador to Australia, Mohamed Khairat, said that the ambassadors of 13 Arab countries met in Canberra today, out of concern that the step Australia is considering would harm the chance for peace. He explained that the ambassadors agreed to send a letter to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to explain their concerns about the possible move.
Top Photo | Prime Minister Scott Morrison, left, speaks to the media alongside Minister for Foreign Affairs Marise Payne during a press conference at the Parliament House in Canberra, October 16, 2018. Mick Tsikas | AAP via AP
Source | Translated by MintPress News from Al-Akhbar
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