Canada will not follow U.S. President Donald Trump’s move to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, nor will it be moving its embassy, says Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland.
But Canada laid out its position in muted tones, and unlike the governments of Britain, France, Germany and other Western countries, did not make any public effort to change Trump’s mind about an action that many in the Mideast see as a needless provocation.
Prior to Trump’s announcement, Global Affairs Canada put out a statement:
“Canada is a steadfast ally and friend of Israel and friend to the Palestinian people. Canada’s longstanding position is that the status of Jerusalem can be resolved only as part of a general settlement of the Palestinian-Israeli dispute. This has been the policy of consecutive governments, both Liberal and Conservative.”
The department stressed the statement was issued in the name of spokesman Adam Austen, rather than Freeland herself. But after Trump’s announcement Wednesday, Freeland re-issued essentially the same quote in her own name.
Austen explained Freeland’s earlier silence this way: “The minister does not make statements about world events before they happen.”
No attempt to influence
Of course, governments and foreign ministers often do make statements either calling for or warning against actions that have not yet been taken. After all, the window of opportunity to influence a decision closes once it is announced.
Other foreign officials not only commented but contacted their U.S. counterparts before the decision was announced, in an attempt to get the Trump administration to reconsider. French President Emmanuel Macron called Trump, as did British Prime Minister Theresa May.
“We believe it’s unhelpful,” May said after the announcement, adding that Trump has an obligation to “now bring forward detailed proposals for an Israel-Palestinian settlement.”
“We all know the far-reaching impact this move would have,” said German Foreign MinisterSigmar Gabriel. “Everything which worsens the crisis is counterproductive.”
“We think it’s an unwise step and a counterproductive step,” said his Dutch…