Over US Jerusalem move Erdogan speaks to Pope Francis

Frederick Owens
December 10, 2017

Pope Francis Wednesday defended the "status quo" of Jerusalem, hours ahead of an announcement by US President Donald Trump in which officials said he will recognise the disputed city as Israel's capital.

"That wisdom and prudence prevail to avoid adding new elements of tension in a global panorama already convulsed by so many cruel conflicts".

Pope Francis said he could not "keep silent about my deep concern" for Jerusalem and urged respect for "the status quo of the city in accordance with the relevant resolutions of the United Nations".

Before the audience, Pope Francis met with religious leaders from Palestine attending a meeting sponsored by the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue. Jerusalem is a unique city, sacred to Jews, Christians and Muslims, where the Holy Places for the respective religions are venerated, and it has a special vocation to peace.

"Indonesia strongly condemns the United States' one-sided recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and asks the USA to reconsider this decision", Widodo said in televised remarks. The Vatican backs a two-state solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, with both sides agreeing on the status of Jerusalem as part of the peace process.

Erdoğan and Pope Francis hold a phone call Thursday evening, discussing the US decision to move its embassy from Israel's Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, presidential sources said.

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Recent visit to AsiaTo the Delegation gathered in the Vatican's Consistory Hall Pope Francis spoke of his recent visit to Myanmar and Bangladesh where, he said, he experienced both the vitality and enterprise of the people, but also the suffering face of a humanity all too often deprived of material prosperity and social well-being.

U.S. President Donald Trump places a note in the Western Wall in Jerusalem May 22. Sources said the leaders emphasized the decision would negatively affect peace and stability in the Middle East.

China has warned that US President Donald Trump's plan to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital could fuel tensions in the region. Palestinians want East Jerusalem as the capital of their future independent state, whereas Israel has declared the whole city to be its "united and eternal" capital.

The Turkish president, who had earlier warned that the status of Jerusalem was a red line for Muslims, said that the U.S. decision was against a 1980 United Nations resolution regarding the status of the city.

Iran condemned the USA move, saying it threatened a "new intifada", or uprising, against Israel. "It has been recurrently emphasized by various United Nations resolutions that the Palestinian question can only be settled through the existence of an independent, sovereign and contiguous State of Palestine based on the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital".

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