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King, Moroccan monarch affirm defending Jerusalem ‘top priority’


The Jordan Times


AMMAN — His Majesty King Abdullah and King Mohammed VI of Morocco affirmed on Thursday that defending Jerusalem and its holy sites against attempts to change the historical, legal and political status quo or alter their religious and cultural Islamic and Christian identity is a top priority for Jordan and Morocco.
During talks in Casablanca ahead of the Arab summit in Tunisia, the two leaders stressed their full support for the Palestinian people in restoring their legitimate rights and enabling them to establish an independent Palestinian state along June 4 1967 lines with East Jerusalem as its capital, based on international law, relevant UN resolutions, the Arab Peace Initiative and the two-state solution, a Royal Court statement said.
King Abdullah and King Mohammed VI reiterated their rejection of all unilateral measures and steps by Israel, the occupying power, to change the legal and historical status quo, the demographics and the spiritual and historical identity of East Jerusalem, especially at Islamic and Christian holy sites in the city.
They affirmed the importance of the historical Hashemite Custodianship undertaken by King Abdullah over Islamic and Christian holy sites in Jerusalem, noting its key role in safeguarding these sites and their Arab, Islamic and Christian identity, especially Al Aqsa Mosque/Al Haram Al Sharif.
The two leaders also noted the role of the Jordanian Jerusalem Awqaf Department as the sole legal authority administering, maintaining and regulating entry into Al Haram Al Sharif.
His Majesty commended the ongoing efforts by King Mohammed VI, chairman of the Al Quds Committee, in solidarity with Jerusalem, praising the initiatives implemented by the Bayt Mal Al Qods Asharif Agency, under the Moroccan monarch’s supervision, to support the steadfastness of Jerusalemites.
On bilateral ties, the two leaders agreed to take cooperation between Jordan and Morocco to the level of a strategic partnership, while maintaining coordination, according to the statement.
The two leaders also agreed to establish projects in renewable energy, agriculture and tourism, as well as exchange expertise between Jordan and Morocco in tourism, food industries, construction, public works, and water resource management.
A joint communique was released following the talks.
Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi, Adviser to His Majesty and Director of the Office of His Majesty Manar Dabbas and Special Adviser to His Majesty Ali Fazza accompanied King Abdullah on the visit.
Also on Thursday, King Abdullah attended a luncheon hosted by King Mohammed VI in honour of His Majesty.
Crown Prince of Morocco Moulay Hassan and Prince Moulay Rachid attended the luncheon.
Later in the evening, the King arrived in the Italian city of Assisi on the second leg of his tour, where he will receive the 2019 Lamp of Peace award on Friday, at a ceremony that will be attended by Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah, the statement added.
His Majesty will receive the award in recognition of his efforts to promote human rights, harmony, interfaith dialogue and peace in the Middle East and the world.
The King will deliver a speech at the prize ceremony, which is organised by the Franciscan Friars of the Sacred Convent of Assisi and will be attended by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte and a number of international political, intellectual and religious leaders.
From Italy, His Majesty is scheduled to travel to France for a meeting with President Emmanuel Macron, followed by Tunisia to head the Jordanian delegation to the Arab summit.

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