Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird, on April 4, 2013.
Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird, on April 4, 2013. The Palestinian Authority on Sunday summoned Canada's envoy to convey "strong dissatisfaction" over Baird's visit last week to annexed east Jerusalem. © Yiannis Kourtoglou - AFP/File
Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird, on April 4, 2013.
AFP
Last updated: April 14, 2013

Palestinians summon Canadian envoy over East Jerusalem visit

The Palestinian Authority on Sunday summoned Canada's envoy to convey "strong dissatisfaction" over Foreign Minister John Baird's visit last week to annexed east Jerusalem.

The Palestinian foreign ministry summoned Katherine Verrier-Frechette "to express its strong dissatisfaction over the meeting between Minister of Foreign Affairs John Baird and Israeli Justice Minister Tzipi Livni in east Jerusalem," a statement read.

Baird met Livni, lead peace negotiator in Israel's cabinet, at her office in east Jerusalem on Tuesday, in a move normally avoided by visiting diplomats because it could be seen as legitimising Israel's controversial annexation.

According to Israeli media, Baird has deliberately done so to set a "precedent."

Israel captured East Jerusalem during the 1967 Six-Day War and later annexed it in a move never recognized by the international community.

The Jewish state considers all of Jerusalem its "eternal, indivisible" capital, but the Palestinians want the eastern sector as capital of their future state.

Arab League Secretary General Nabil al-Arabi said he was "extremely shocked" by the east Jerusalem meeting.

"This position is a violation of UN resolutions" and "attempts to legitimise the Israeli occupation of east Jerusalem," a spokesman for Arabi said in Cairo.

Former Palestinian foreign minister Nabil Shaath on Friday lambasted the visit as an "unprecedented recognition of the illegal Israeli annexation of Palestinians' occupied capital" and a "slap in the face to the Palestinian people."

And Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat said "diplomatic recognition of the situation created by the attempted annexation of our capital is a flagrant violation of international law" that "severely undermines current US efforts" to rekindle a peace process.

Canada is one of Israel's staunchest allies and was one of the few countries that opposed a successful Palestinian bid for upgraded status at the United Nations late last year.

Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor praised the visit and Canada's "straight talk" on international issues.

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