Jordan and Saudi Arabia say Israel must halt actions undermining two-state solution

Saudi Arabia says it recognises importance of Jordanian custody over Jerusalem's holy sites

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Saudi Arabia and Jordan on Wednesday called on Israel to stop “illegitimate” actions that undermine peace prospects with the Palestinians, at the end of a visit by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to Amman.

Israel must respect the status of Jerusalem, a joint statement said, and it added that Saudi Arabia affirms the importance of Jordan's custody over the holy sites in Jerusalem — a main plank of Jordanian foreign policy.

Prince Mohammed arrived in Amman on Tuesday night and met King Abdullah II of Jordan on an official visit marking improved relations between the two countries, which have been at odds over some regional issues in recent years. On Wednesday, the crown prince left Amman for Turkey, the third stop on his regional tour.

“It is necessary for Israel to stop all illegitimate measures that undermine the two-state solution and the chances for a just peace,” the declaration said.

“The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia affirmed the importance of the historic Hashemite custody of the Muslim and Christian holy places in Jerusalem in protecting … and preserving [their] Arab Islamic and Christian identity,” it said, referring to the custodianship over the sites granted in the early 20th century by Palestinian notables to Al Hussein bin Ali, Sharif of Makkah — an ancestor of King Abdullah.

The declaration said Israel must respect the “historic and legal status” of occupied East Jerusalem and added that Al Aqsa Mosque, a flashpoint in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, is a “purely” Muslim place of worship.

Differences have divided Amman and Riyadh in recent years as the US — a major ally of both countries — focused on normalising relations between Arab states and Israel, something Jordan perceives as undermining the Palestinian cause as well as its historic role as regional interlocutor.

The two countries have also differed over how to deal with the Syrian regime of Bashar Al Assad, as Jordan became a transit centre for Captagon smuggled from Syria into Arabia.

The Jordanian military said on Tuesday that it had foiled a Captagon smuggling attempt from Syria and seized 678,000 pills “in continuation of the efforts by the armed forces to preserve security”.

King Abdullah and Prince Mohammed last met in March 2021, when the king visited Prince Mohammed in Riyadh to check on him after appendicitis surgery.

Updated: June 22, 2022, 4:47 PM