October 16, 2018 / 6:28 AM / a month ago

Australia's shift in Israel policy could hurt ties with Arab nations, Egypt envoy says

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Ambassadors from 13 Arab countries met in Canberra on Tuesday, concerned that Australia’s move to consider recognising Jerusalem as Israel’s capital could damage peace prospects there, Egypt’s ambassador said.

Earlier on Tuesday, Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison made the unexpected announcement that he was “open minded” about recognising Jerusalem and possibly moving Australia’s embassy there.

That prompted the 13 ambassadors to call a meeting in the Australian capital, Mohamed Khairat, Egypt’s ambassador to Australia told Reuters by telephone.

“We have agreed that we will send a letter to the foreign minister expressing our worries and our concern about such a statement,” he said.

“Any decision like that might damage the peace process ... this will have very negative implications on the relations between Australia and not only Arab countries but many other (Islamic countries) as well.”

Reporting by Tom Westbrook; Editing by Clarence Fernandez

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