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Russia on Thursday publicly recognized West Jerusalem as the capital city of Israel.
The announcement was made in a statement by Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs that addressed the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
In the statement, Moscow reaffirmed its “support for the two-state solution” while acknowledging that East Jerusalem should be the capital of the future Palestinian state.
“We reaffirm our commitment to the UN-approved principles for a Palestinian-Israeli settlement, which include the status of East Jerusalem as the capital of the future Palestinian state,” the ministry said.
“At the same time, we must state that in this context we view West Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.”
Moscow’s announcement comes as the new U.S. administration is considering moving the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, thereby recognizing the city as Israel’s capital.
Israel declared Jerusalem its capital in 1950, but Russia is the first nation to recognize it as such, according to The Jerusalem Post.
Long-standing U.S. policy has called for the status of Jerusalem to be resolved by the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.
According to the Jerusalem Post, Russia is currently not planning on moving its embassy to the city.
In the statement, Russia maintained that a two-state solution is the best policy for the achieving peace in the region and pledged to focus on ensuring access to Jerusalem “for all believers.”
“Moscow reaffirms its support for the two-state solution as an optimal option that meets the national interests of the Palestinian and Israeli people, both of whom have friendly relations with Russia, and the interests of all other countries in the region and the international community as a whole,” the ministry said.
“Russia will continue to provide assistance to the achievement of Israeli-Palestinian agreements. We will focus on ensuring free access to Jerusalem’s holy places for all believers.”