Hollande, Gates condemn Jerusalem announcement

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Hollande, Gates condemn Jerusalem announcement

Dubai - The decision makes it difficult for US allies who have been working to improve relations in the Gulf region


Sherouk Zakaria

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Published: Tue 12 Dec 2017, 7:18 PM

Last updated: Tue 12 Dec 2017, 11:12 PM

World leaders on Tuesday condemned US President Donald Trump's Jerusalem move and predicted more terrorism targeting the major cities in 2018, while calling for firmer stance against Iran's nuclear strategy.
Speaking during the Arab Strategy Forum in Dubai, Francois Hollande, former French president, said Trump's decision to announce occupied Jerusalem as the capital of Israel is a "brutal decision for Arab states and Palestinians, and will create more problems than naught."
In a session that discussed the state of world geopolitics in 2018, Hollande noted that European nations must continue negotiations and provide solutions "with or without the US."
He referred to the UAE's message of tolerance and peace through its opening of the Louvre museum in Abu Dhabi earlier last month. "It is a message that Islam promotes peace and tolerance, and I am grateful for this message," he said, emphasising an Arab unity to help provide solutions.
Dr Robert Gates, former US Secretary of Defence, called the Jerusalem move an "ill advised" decision that will harm the broader strategy.
Gates noted that the decision makes it difficult for the US allies who have been working significantly to improve relations in the Gulf region.
However, according to Gates, the Jerusalem announcement will not reverse Trump's achievement in the Arab World against Iran, but would rather "complicate it."
He further predicted that Trump will remain the president over the following year, highlighting the necessity of having "modesty" about how much the US can change other countries.
"US decisions are less based on national interest than changing other countries. We need to have modesty," said Gates. Officials predicated Palestinian conflicts to continue, as well as terrorism that will now target the major cities.Hollande said the more Daesh weakens in Iraq and Syria - given Iraq's recent announcement of the end of war with Daesh - the more risks will be directed to major cities like New York that recently faced a terrorist attack attempt. Hollande also predicted escalating Sunni-Shia conflict in 2018.
He noted that France has placed itself in a "favourable position" economically after Brexit, with its nuclear arm positioned to defend itself in the European Union.
He urged high-level protection of countries targeted by terrorism should be allocated.
"We also need to follow individuals who go back home to Europe from Iraq or Syria, we need to pay great attention to their behaviour, especially those in rehab and radicalisation centres."
He also urged having strict cyber security measures and staying vigilant.
Meanwhile, Gates said the elimination of terrorism isn't an "achievable target." He added: "We can aspire to stop Daesh from having access to weapons of mass destruction or stopping them from plotting attacks. We can take measures to limit opportunities from attacks in Europe."
He emphasised that governments need to give people sense of hope and economic growth to create an environment hostile to terrorism.
"We can control, contain and keep [terrorism] to a level where people can live their life regularly," Gates added.
Furthermore, Hollande called for a firmer action against Iran's nuclear deals, adding that it is necessary to fight against proliferation. On the other side, Gates predicted Russian President Vladimir Putin's victory in the March elections, adding that he will rely on nationalist sentiments instead of promises of better economy, and will end up winning the election.

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