Trump's Jerusalem Decision Could Help Jihadists, Says UAE's Sheikh Mohammed

Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahayan also said that the UAE hopes that Washington would reconsider its decision

Prime Minister of Lebanon Saad Hariri, left, meets with Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahayan, Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2017
Mohamed Al Hammadi/Crown Prince Court - Abu Dhabi via AP

U.S President Donald Trump's decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital could provide a lifeline to militants after the setbacks they suffered this year, the de facto leader of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has warned.

Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahayan also said that the UAE hopes that Washington would reconsider its decision.

Trump's announcement has sparked widespread opposition across the Middle East, with many warning it could affect Washington's role as a Middle East peace broker.

"The U.S. move could throw a lifebuoy to terrorist and armed groups, which have begun to lose ground in the region," said Sheikh Mohammed, speaking to a delegation from the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

The comments were carried in a report on state news agency WAM published late on Saturday.

Iraq on Saturday declared final victory over Islamic State after Iraqi forces drove its last remnants from the country, while the group is on the back foot in neighbouring Syria, where an offensive backed by Russia has driven the group out of most of its strongholds.

Palestinians want Arab East Jerusalem, captured by Israel in the 1967 Middle East war, to be the capital of a state they hope would be emerge from peace talks with Israel. Israel has annexed East Jerusalem in a move not recognized internationally and regards the area as part of its capital.

Sheikh Mohammed said Trump's unilateral decision violates U.N. resolutions, and urged Washington to "reconsider its move and work basically in an effective and neutral manner to draft true principles for peace that serve all and realise development and stability in the region", according to WAM.

Turning to Yemen, Sheikh Mohammed said the Saudi-led Arab coalition, which includes the UAE, remained committed to a political solution to end the war that began in 2015 when the Iran-aligned Houthis advanced on the southern port city of Aden forcing President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi to flee into exile.

But he said that any solution "will also not be at the expense of enabling a military militia that operates outside the state authority and posing a direct threat to the security and stability of the sisterly Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the region at large."