Venezuela’s Maduro in Turkey as surprise guest at OIC summit on Jerusalem

  • The socialist president's trip aimed "to evaluate everything that has to do with the solidarity for the Arab people of Palestine" facing "aggression of the imperialist government (of US)"

ISTANBUL – Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro appeared as a surprise guest at the extraordinary summit of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Istanbul on Wednesday.

Before leaving for the OIC meeting, which was convened by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in response to US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, the South American leader said the aim of his trip was “to evaluate everything that has to do with the solidarity for the Arab people of Palestine” facing “aggression of the imperialist government,” referring to the US.

Venezuela joined an overwhelming majority of the countries in the world in rejecting Trump’s decision on Jerusalem, according to Daily Sabah.

Jerusalem status: Extraordinary OIC summit with 57-member states underway in Istanbul

Trump’s announcement was met with widespread condemnation and sparked protests across the Muslim world, including Palestine, Lebanon, Turkey, and Indonesia.

Israeli security forces killed two Palestinians and injured hundreds during demonstrations in Gaza and the West Bank.

Addressing the Wednesday’s summit, President Erdogan said the US decision to recognise the city as Israel’s capital was “null and void”. He urged leaders of Muslim nations to recognise Jerusalem as the “occupied capital of the Palestinian state”.

He also again accused Israel of being a “state of terror”.

Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas said the US had “disqualified itself from playing a role in the peace process”. “We shall not accept any role for the United States in the peace process. They have proven their full bias in favour of Israel,” he told the summit.

Two Palestinians killed in Isareli drone attack

The status of Jerusalem goes to the heart of Israel’s conflict with the Palestinians.

The city is home to key religious sites sacred to Judaism, Islam and Christianity, especially in East Jerusalem.

Israel occupied the sector, previously occupied by Jordan, in the 1967 Middle East war and regards the entire city as its indivisible capital.

The Palestinians claim East Jerusalem as the capital of a future state, and its final status is meant to be discussed in the latter stages of peace talks.

Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem has never been recognised internationally, and all countries currently maintain their embassies in Tel Aviv. However, President Donald Trump has announced that the US will eventually move its embassy.