Sadiq Khan joined forces with the Pakistani Government today to condemn Donald Trump’s decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
The Mayor of London waded into the diplomatic crisis as he met with the emerging superpower’s prime minister during a high profile visit to Islamabad.
He attacked the US President’s actions as “deliberately unhelpful” and warned that he had made peace in the Middle East less, rather than more, likely.
The Pakistanis warned the highly provocative move would add “fuel to the fire” to conflicts across the wider region.
Mr Khan highlighted the “concerns, frustrations and anger” that were felt about the symbolic issue of Jerusalem’s status across the Muslim world.
The Mayor met with Pakistani PM Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and foreign secretary Khawaja Muhammad Asif on his six-day trade mission to India and Pakistan.
The visit represents his most high-level foray into global politics yet.
Although he has received a warm welcome in Pakistan with his family background helping to open doors, it is unclear how the intervention will go down with the Government back home.
He has already crossed the border from India on foot against the advice of Foreign Office officials.
Mr Khan said the Pakistanis were “very unhappy” with the US decision, which represents a reversal of decades of US foreign policy.
The country’s foreign secretary told reporters accompanying the Mayor that it was an “appalling” move.
“It is an affront to Muslims what has been done last night. I hope the American government can explain to the Muslim world why they have done this thing…
“At this juncture when there is a lot of disturbance and turmoil and almost for the last more than a decade with Iraq and Syria and Libya and Afghanistan.
“There are no solutions to these problems but they have added fuel to the fire”.
Mr Khan agreed there would be a “ripple effect”, not just in the Middle East, but right across the world.
“That’s why you’ve seen world leaders expressing their concern and disappointment and anger at what President Trump has done”.
Ahead of his series of high profile political meetings Mr Khan had shared his own concerns about the Jerusalem announcement.
“Anybody who understands the history about that part of the Middle East will find it astonishing because it makes peace less likely not more likely,” he said.
“I’d far prefer to see the President of the US bringing people together and being a bridge-builder, rather than seeking to divide communities”.