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Govt distances itself from Prof. Oquaye’s comments on Jerusalem

The government has said the Speaker of Parliament, Prof. Mike Oquaye’s comments made in relation to the contention of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel by the US does not represent Ghana’s foreign policy.

Prof. Oquaye in an interview with Israeli media network, i24NEWS on Tuesday following the development said “whatever Israel wants, we in Ghana will go by that, because that is essentially an internal decision.”

The Speaker was in Israel as part of the “Power Africa” initiative.

But the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration in a statement has distanced itself from the remarks by the Speaker of Parliament on the back of the move being considered by the US.

“While appreciating the interest taken by Rt. Hon. Mike Ocquaye, the Foreign Ministry wishes to emphasize that it is a personal view to which the Rt. Hn. Speaker is entitled,” a statement from the Ministry said.

The statement continued:”Ghana has always supported the position that the Palestinian-Isreali conflict should be resolved peacefully between the parties themselves and all the stakeholders involved. It is therefore important to all stakeholders and observers to remain neutral until final resolution by partners.”

“While the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration does not wish to stifle debates on this issue which is of international concern, the Minister will appeal to all well-minded persons to take cognizance of the sensitivity of the issue,” the statement noted.

The status of Jerusalem – a holy site for Israelis and Palestinians – is extremely contentious.

Israel has always regarded Jerusalem as its capital city, while the Palestinians claim East Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state.

Meanwhile, US President Donald Trump will unilaterally recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, senior administration officials say.

But the officials said Mr Trump would not immediately move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

The news comes ahead of an expected speech by Mr Trump on Wednesday.

Arab leaders earlier warned against moving the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, with one saying this would be “a flagrant provocation to Muslims”.

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