King tells Palestinians Saudi Arabia backs Jerusalem claim

In this photo released by Al-Ekhbariya, Saudi King Salman, fifth right, receives Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas after he arrives in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Wednesday, Dec. 20, 2017. (Al-Ekhbariya via AP)
In this photo released by Al-Ekhbariya, Saudi King Salman, right, receives Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas after he arrives in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Wednesday, Dec. 20, 2017. (Al-Ekhbariya via AP)
In this photo released by Al-Ekhbariya, Saudi King Salman, right, receives Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas after he arrives in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Wednesday, Dec. 20, 2017. (Al-Ekhbariya via AP)

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia — Saudi Arabia's King Salman reassured Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in their meeting that the kingdom continues to support Palestinian claims to Jerusalem, a government statement said.

The state-run Saudi Press Agency reported that King Salman on Wednesday reiterated to Abbas Saudi Arabia's support for "the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people to establish their independent state with East Jerusalem as its capital city."

The meeting in the Saudi capital, Riyadh, was attended by a number of senior princes and Palestinian officials.

The meeting, however, did not include the king's son and heir, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who met with Abbas in early November in Riyadh— a month before President Donald Trump formally announced his administration's decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

Abbas' visit to Riyadh on Wednesday comes one week after heads of state from Muslim countries met in Turkey to reject and denounce Trump's decision. Saudi Arabia and some of its allies were notably absent from that summit amid reports that the kingdom is privately pressuring Abbas to relinquish Palestinian claims over east Jerusalem in exchange for continued U.S. pressure against Saudi rival, Iran.

The Palestinians and Turks, meanwhile, are accusing the U.S. of intimidation after its ambassador at the United Nations warned countries that Washington "will be taking names" during a U.N. General Assembly vote on Thursday on the Trump administration's Jerusalem announcement.

The U.S. earlier vetoed a Security Council resolution that would have required the Trump administration to rescind its Jerusalem decision.

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