Egypt, Indonesia Warn Australia Against Moving Embassy to Jerusalem

Thirteen Arab ambassadors meet in Canberra after Australian PM announces he's considering recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital

Indonesian President Joko Widodo talks with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison during a meeting at the presidential palace in Bogor, West Java, Indonesia, August 31, 2018.
Achmad Ibrahim,AP

Ambassadors from 13 Arab countries met in Canberra on Tuesday, concerned that Australia's move to consider recognizing 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 recognizing 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."  

Indonesia, the world's largest Muslim-majority country, also warned that Australia moving its embassy to Jerusalem could undermine a peace process between Israel and the Palestinians. 

Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi said she had conveyed her country's opposition to such a move to Australia.

"Indonesia encourages Australia and other nations to continue to support the peace process and not conduct any action that could undermine the peace process and global security," she said after talks with visiting Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki. 

Morrison said no decision had been made to move Australia's embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, but he said arguments in favor of such a move were "persuasive."

He said there had been no discussion on the matter with the United States, which has already moved its embassy to Jerusalem.